Carpenter is 11-6 with a 3.09 ERA. The other five Cardinals starters, including rehabbing left-hander Mark Mulder and rookie right-hander Anthony Reyes, who had his worst big-league outing Wednesday night, are 33-32 with a 5.35 ERA. In 472 2/3 innings, that quintet has surrendered 84 home runs, or one every one every 5.6 innings.
Reyes, who was tagged for three homers in 3 1/3 innings Wednesday, has permitted 12 homers in his last 10 games. He had pitched well in his previous two starts, both victories, but he is far from ready for anyone to assume he could be a No. 2 starter in a playoff situation -- if there is a playoff situation.
"I wasn't hitting spots today like I did last week," Reyes said. "I got behind (in the count) way too many times."
As it has on several other occasions this season, Busch Stadium played as a bandbox Wednesday night, but only for the visitors. The Reds' five-homer salvo, accounting for all their runs in a 7-2 win -- right-hander Jorge Sosa was not immune either -- gave visiting teams 73 homers at Busch to only 57 for the Cardinals. Albert Pujols has accounted for 17 of the home team's total.
REPLAY: Right-hander Anthony Reyes held the Reds to two hits and no runs over five innings in a win Aug. 10 in Cincinnati. But he had little command Wednesday night, giving up three home runs and five runs in 3 1/3 innings of a 7-2 loss to the Reds that sliced the Cardinals' lead in the National League Central to 1 1/2 games.
The Cardinals had their chances, especially with Albert Pujols coming to the plate four times with men in scoring position. But he managed just one RBI, and that was on a fielder's choice grounder.
--CF Jim Edmonds was out Wednesday night and probably will miss Thursday's game, too, with a post-concussion syndrome stemming from an injury incurred a couple of months ago in Chicago. Edmonds apparently had been affected for a while and was removed from Tuesday's game in the fifth inning, suffering from dizziness and blurred vision.
--The Cardinals have adjusted their rotation for their next three games. RHP Jeff Weaver, who allowed one run in six innings while beating the Reds last week in Cincinnati, jumps ahead of RHP Jeff Suppan to make Thursday's start in the final meeting of the season between the Cardinals and the Reds. RHP Jason Marquis, who had a strong game in Pittsburgh last Sunday, also will move ahead of Suppan to pitch Friday in Chicago, while Suppan will work on Saturday, with a week's rest. RHP Chris Carpenter, the staff ace, will pitch Sunday at Wrigley Field.
--2B Ronnie Belliard, a right-handed hitter, was riding a wave of five straight hits, but he was benched Wednesday for switch-hitting Aaron Miles. Belliard was 0-for-11 against Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo, while Miles was 4-for-11, including two doubles last week in Cincinnati. Miles went 1-for-4. Left-handed batters were hitting .310 against Arroyo and right-handers .209.
--OF Juan Encarnacion made just his third start in center field as Timo Perez, who, in essence, replaced Jim Edmonds in the lineup, started in right. Perez was hitless in four at-bats, although he drove in a run with a groundout.
--LHP Mark Mulder will make what probably will be his last rehabilitation start Thursday in Oklahoma City for Triple-A Memphis.
BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Number of homers allowed by Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter in his first 23 starts. He gave up only 18 all last season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If he wants to earn that money next year through an option or as a free agent with somebody else, he's got to prove he's worth $10 million." -- Manager Tony La Russa, on CF Jim Edmonds' discontent that his 2007 option hadn't been picked up.