MLB Insiders - Make that Five Straight

The St. Louis Cardinals current five-game winning streak ties their longest of the season, from May 17-21. It comes after the Cardinals stumbled in June with a 9-16 record, their first sub-.500 month since July 2003

MLB Insiders Chris Carpenter brought out his Cy Young game Friday night and the Los Angeles Dodgers were virtually helpless to defend against it in a 5-0 Cardinals victory.

Tossing his 10th career shutout, Carpenter needed only a diving catch by Jim Edmonds in the sixth inning against Dodgers catcher Russell Martin to help him throw a two-hitter.

Carpenter, who had a one-hit shutout last year, gave up just two singles and walked nobody in throwing only 101 pitches. Taking an intelligent approach against Los Angeles sinker-baller Derek Lowe, the Cardinals hit the ball to the opposite field as often as not in raining 11 hits off Lowe in six innings.

Rookie Chris Duncan, who's prone to over-swinging, popped a two-run homer to the opposite field, left field, in the third inning as one of his three hits.

David Eckstein, instructed by hitting coach Hal McRae before the game not to try to do too much, singled four times in five at-bats and grounded out sharply in his last at-bat.

REPLAY: Albert Pujols, who had won two games during the Cardinals' winning streak with last-inning homers, singled home the only run Chris Carpenter (8-4) needed in the first inning. The Cardinals had eight hits, seven of them singles, and four runs in the first three innings against Los Angeles' Derek Lowe.


--LHP Mark Mulder, out with shoulder problems for the last 3 1/2 weeks, threw in the bullpen for the first time Friday night. It is hoped he will return to the rotation by mid-August.

--LHP Randy Flores has been bothered by elbow soreness and his immediate availability is questionable. Veteran LHP Matt Perisho has been doing well at Triple-A Memphis.

--The Cardinals' five-game winning streak ties their longest of the season, from May 17-21.

--RF Juan Encarnacion singled in a run to stop a nothing-for-13 dive and then homered later in the game. --RHP Chris Carpenter's shutout was the Cardinals' first complete-game win of the season.

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