Carpenter needed only 19 pitches to throw two hitless innings in the St. Louis Cardinals' 9-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday.It was Carpenter's first appearance in a game since September. He was sidelined by injuries for most of the past two seasons."I've been in a lot of spring trainings, and spring training is a lot different than the regular season, but like I've said all along I've felt strong and I've felt good, and my stuff's there," Carpenter said. "Now I have just got to be able to continue to progress my arm strength and pitch count, and get ready to go."Daniel Cabrera had a more difficult time in his Nationals debut, allowing two runs and four hits in two innings.Carpenter won the NL Cy Young Award in 2005, when he went 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA. He won 15 games for the Cardinals during their 2006 World Series title run but has started only four games since.He was the opening-day starter in 2007, but left that game with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Carpenter didn't return to the majors until late July of last season, then left his Aug. 10 start against the Chicago Cubs with what turned out to be nerve-related damage in his shoulder.He made a relief appearance at Arizona on Sept. 2 and was shut down after the outing because his shoulder was still bothering him. He had elbow surgery in November.Originally slated to throw 40 pitches, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa pulled Carpenter after the second inning."Forty is just a number of conditioning, then you put the factors together and you see what makes sense," La Russa said. "He accomplished a lot. He pitched two solid innings. He'll have a great four days of preparation or five days -- there won't be anything that stops him from coming out there again. I didn't think a third inning was worth trying to push."Carpenter needed 11 pitches to get out of the first and eight to retire the side in the second. The only blemish on his line came when he hit Lastings Milledge in the first inning.Cabrera surrendered hits to the first three batters he faced before settling down.Leadoff hitter Skip Schumaker smacked Cabrera's second pitch down the left-field line for a double. Yadier Molina moved Shumaker to third with a single and Albert Pujols' line drive off the left-field wall made it 1-0.The Cardinals added an unearned run in the second inning.Cabrera, who signed a $2.6 million, one-year deal in the offseason, went 8-10 with a 5.25 ERA in 30 starts with Baltimore last year. He threw 22 of his 34 pitches against St. Louis for strikes."When you come to the first game of spring training you have too much energy, maybe," he said. "I was just looking to throw strikes and that happened today, so I'm happy with it."