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Cardinals bounce back from Thursday's blowout

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Once again, Chris Carpenter was almost
untouchable.

Carpenter carried a five-hitter into the eighth inning and
became the major leagues' fourth 12-game winner as the St. Louis
Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 6-0 Friday night.

Albert Pujols homered in the first to extend his hitting streak
to 13 games and Carpenter contributed a sacrifice fly for the
Cardinals, who rebounded from a shutout loss in the series opener
and improved to 50-29. That matched their season high at 21 games
above .500.

"Carpenter is just unbelievable," Pujols said. "I talked to
some guys coming down to first base and they were telling me 'This
guy is so nasty. When you hear guys on the other side saying that,
he has something good going."

Aaron Miles had two singles for the Rockies, who are a major
league-worst 6-32 on the road. It's also the worst in baseball
since the 1982 Twins began 5-32.

"He just did it all," the Rockies' Garrett Atkins said of
Carpenter. "We knew we were going to be in for a tough night."

Carpenter (12-4) joined Dontrelle Willis of the Marlins, Livan
Hernandez of the Nationals and Jon Garland of the White Sox at 12
wins -- three shy of his season total last year. He had nine
strikeouts, leaving him two behind league-leading Pedro Martinez,
and two walks.

"I'm not on the way to the All-Star game yet, but I'm just
having fun competing every fifth day," Carpenter said. "Every
night is a new night and guys are diving all over the place no
matter what the score is, and it's just fun to come to the ballpark
and be a part of this team."

Atkins said he'd pick Carpenter to start the All-Star Game.

"Definitely, I've felt the least comfortable against him so
far," Atkins said.

Carpenter was 4-1 with an 0.90 ERA in June and has allowed only
one run in 33 2/3 innings in his last four starts, including two
shutouts, to lower his ERA to 2.60. Ray King struck out Todd Helton
with a runner on for the last out in the eighth and Julian Tavarez
got three outs.

Rockies starter Joe Kennedy (4-8) lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing
five runs on nine hits. He's 1-7 on the road with a 7.01 ERA.

"I didn't have anything all game," Kennedy said. "I threw 111
pitches and maybe 75 or 80 of them are fastballs and I'm not a
fastball pitcher.

"So I was just trying to battle through and go as far as I
could."

Carpenter retired nine of the first 10 batters, issuing only a
first-inning walk to Helton, before the Rockies loaded the bases on
two hits and a walk in the fourth. He escaped by getting Desi
Relaford to pop up to first.

Carpenter had the best defensive play for the Cardinals, too,
making a diving stab on Miles' chopper up the middle and then
rolling off the mound and making a strong throw while sitting that
just missed catching him at first. Helton followed with a single to
extend his hitting streak to 10 games but the Rockies again came up
empty when Atkins grounded into an inning-ending double play.

So Taguchi had an RBI single and a second run scored on a wild
pitch by Kennedy in the second. Carpenter's sacrifice fly in the
sixth gave him two RBI on the year and gave the Cardinals a 4-0
lead.

Scott Rolen drove in his first run in 11 games since returning
from shoulder surgery, an RBI single in the seventh that knocked
out Kennedy, and Pujols added and RBI single in the eighth.

Game notes
Rockies RF Brad Hawpe made three nice fielding plays,
running down liners in the corner to start the first by David
Eckstein and Mark Grudzielanek, and then reaching into the stands
to make the catch on Reggie Sanders' foul fly in the fifth. He just
missed on a fourth highlight catch when pinch-hitter John Mabry's
sinking liner popped out of his glove for a double in the eighth.
... Pujols is 20-for-48 (.417) during his hitting streak, three
games shy of his season best from April 19-May 5. ... The Cardinals
have hit 17 homers in the first seven games of the homestand. ...
Pujols has 81 career homers at Busch Stadium, tied with Ted Simmons
for fourth most.