ST. LOUIS -- Javier Vazquez doesn't think he was ever this efficient.
"I don't remember throwing a complete game with less than 100 pitches," Vazquez said. "Usually I'm at 100 pitches by the seventh inning. I feel really good about that."
Vazquez allowed a leadoff single to Skip Schumaker and then retired the next 17 batters before Schumaker reached on an infield single in the sixth. It was the 25th complete game of Vazquez's career and his second of the season.
Vazquez (13-9) has won his last three decisions. He stuck out eight while walking none. He threw just 94 pitches.
St. Louis hadn't been swept since losing three in a row at Houston July 20-22 and hadn't been swept at home since losing four straight to the Colorado Rockies June 5-8.
"We got beat in two one-run games," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "Today, we just got pounded."
Carpenter, a Cy Young candidate, had his worst outing of the season. He allowed seven earned runs on nine hits in six innings.
"I made some bad pitches but I also made some good pitches," Carpenter said. "I just wasn't able to make a pitch to get out of the inning, bottom line."
After getting two quick outs to start the third, Carpenter (16-4) gave up six runs. With the bases loaded, Adam LaRoche hit a two-run double down the right-field line. Yunel Escobar then singled in two runs and Matt Diaz finished the scoring with a two-run ground-rule double.
"We were just able to put together some big hits with two outs," Kelly Johnson said. "Just getting those big hits, that was the ballgame."
Atlanta finished Carpenter's day in the sixth when Nate McLouth singled to right to score Diaz, who had been hit by a pitch leading off.
"We did a lot of hitting against a great pitcher," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "I don't know what it was today about Carpenter. We were able to hit line drives and find holes. Even in the first two innings we hit about four balls really hard."
The loss was Carpenter's first since June 30th when the San Francisco Giants beat the Cardinals 6-3 snapping his 11-game winning streak. Carpenter's league-leading 2.16 ERA jumped to 2.45. He now trails the Giants' Tim Lincecum (2.34).
LaRoche hit a solo shot in the ninth, his 22nd of the season. He has now hit safely in 26 of his last 29 games.
Matt Holliday had a two-run single in the ninth for the Cardinals.
"He's had a good year," Holliday said about Vazquez. "He got a big lead early and it allowed him to dictate how he pitched and he made it tough on us."
The Cardinals are now 5-2 against Atlanta when Carpenter starts...Braves C Brian McCann whose two run double was the game winner yesterday, is 8-for-13 (.615) since snapping an 0-for-20 spell last Thursday.