Carpenter goes 7 strong as Cards light up Arroyo for 8 runs

CINCINNATI -- The lopsided win was anticlimactic for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Colby Rasmus' homer started an eight-run onslaught against slumping Bronson Arroyo, and the Cardinals got another solid start from Chris Carpenter on Sunday for a 10-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that was a perfect finishing touch.

The Cardinals already had learned that first baseman Albert Pujols received the most votes for the All-Star Game that will be played at Busch Stadium on July 14. He'll be joined by catcher Yadier Molina and closer Ryan Franklin, both of whom were picked for the first time.

Franklin, a 36-year-old reliever, started to tear up when he described the standing ovation he got from his teammates in the clubhouse. He'd spent a sleepless night wondering whether he'd be chosen.

"Aw, man, it meant a whole lot," said Franklin, a former starter who has closed games the last two years. "There was a lot of tossing and turning, a few good dreams, a few bad dreams -- about not making it. It's a cool feeling. I just can't wait to experience it."

By comparison, the game was a sleep walk.

Rasmus hit a two-run homer in the first off Arroyo (8-8), who is 1-5 in his last seven starts. A throwing error by third baseman Edwin Encarnacion let in a pair of runs in the fifth inning, helping the Cardinals pull ahead 8-0 with Arroyo on the mound.

"It was a struggle getting outs," Arroyo said. "I'm not tired. I didn't throw that many pitches. I knew I was going to have to stay out there."

By that point, the Reds knew they were finished. Carpenter (6-3) wasn't going to let them back in it.

"They go up 2-0 and that's almost all they need," manager Dusty Baker said. "He's one of the best around. If anybody knows how to keep a slim lead, it's him."

Carpenter bounced back from his worst start of the season, a 6-3 loss to the Giants on Tuesday. The right-hander gave up a run and five hits in seven innings, fanning Laynce Nix on a 94 mph fastball with his 104th and final pitch.

The Cardinals have won four of five. They visit NL Central rivals Milwaukee and Chicago before returning home for the 80th All-Star Game.

"Anytime you come into a visiting ballpark in your division and take two of three, all wins are big wins," Carpenter said. "It's nice to start the road trip off by taking the series."

Pujols, who leads the majors with 31 homers and 82 RBIs, had a single and an intentional walk as part of the Cardinals' balanced offense -- every starter had a hit. Molina, who also will start for the NL, singled twice and drove in a pair of runs.

From Baker on down, the Reds viewed the weekend series as a chance to show they're more than just a break-even team. Instead, they completed a 3-3 homestand that left them 40-40 overall -- 20-20 at home, 20-20 on the road.

"Yeah, it was a big, big series," Baker said. "It was a huge series, but it is what it is right now."

Rasmus' second homer in two games left him with 10, the most by an NL rookie, and added to Arroyo's history of slow starts. The right-hander has given up 20 earned runs in his 17 opening innings, by far his worst result for any inning.

Carpenter, only a 3-for-19 hitter this season, singled for his first RBI in the fourth inning. The Cardinals broke it open with four runs in the fifth, when the Reds intentionally walked Pujols to load the bases with no outs. Ryan Ludwick then hit a grounder to Encarnacion, whose off-balance throw was wide of home plate, letting in a pair of runs.

Encarnacion had a team-high 23 errors last season. He's been sidelined most of this season by a broken wrist and has four errors.

Game notes
The nine-run win matched the Cardinals' most lopsided. They beat the Tigers 11-2 on June 16. ... Pujols also leads the majors in intentional walks. He got his 29th on Sunday, five shy of the team record he set last season. ... Chris Duncan's pinch-hit single broke an 0-for-15 slide. ... Cincinnati's Joey Votto extended his hitting streak to eight games. Since coming off the DL on June 23, the first baseman has gone 19 for 50 (.380) in a dozen games.