Carpenter, staked to a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning on Scott Spiezio's three-run homer in the top of the inning, gave it up in a flurry of five hits after a leadoff walk.
But as disappointing as that was, more germane to the Cardinals' potential postseason future was another poor outing by closer Jason Isringhausen. After Preston Wilson cracked a dramatic, two-run, ninth-inning homer against his former team to restore the lead to the Cardinals at 6-5, Isringhausen blew the save and the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Issuing two walks, hitting another batter and allowing a stolen base, Isringhausen loaded the bases with one out before giving up a game-winning, two-run single to Jose Vidro in a 7-6 Washington victory.
The blown save for No. 10 for Isringhausen, who has 33 saves. His blown save total is the most in the league, and he also has eight losses. Plagued much of the season by control issues, Isringhausen has walked 38 batters in 58 2/3 innings. He also has surrendered 10 home runs. The continued strong pitching by right-hander Braden Looper, who has closed with the Marlins and the Mets, will bring another outcry that Isringhausen should be replaced, at least temporarily, in that role.
The Cardinals could do worse then giving Looper an occasional chance at a save, inasmuch as they still are comfortably in front by six games in the National League Central.
REPLAY: Preston Wilson, who played with Washington part of last season, smacked his fifth homer as a Cardinal, a two-run drive off Nationals closer Chad Cordero in the ninth inning. But Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen suffered his eighth loss in 12 decisions when he gave up a two-run, bases-loaded single with one out in the home ninth to Jose Vidro as the Nationals completed their second rally and scored a 7-6 victory Wednesday.
The Cardinals had three home runs, including a solo drive by Yadier Molina and a three-run shot by Scott Spiezio, in defeat. Their magic number for clinching the National League Central title dropped to 18 with Cincinnati's loss.
--LHP Mark Mulder has thrown his last pitch for the Cardinals this season, and perhaps forever. After seeing Dr. David Altchek of the Mets' medical staff Wednesday, Mulder received the same the diagnosis he got from Dr. George Paletta, the Cardinals' medical supervisor. To relieve an impingement in his left shoulder and also some irritation and inflammation in the left rotator cuff, Mulder will have arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder next week.
It has not been determined who will perform the surgery, but Mulder, 6-7 with a 7.14 ERA, is out for the season. A free agent this winter, he may not be back with the club.
--1B Albert Pujols' streak of five homers in his last three games was stopped, although Pujols did have two singles.
--2B Ronnie Belliard, who has been with the club less than six weeks, grounded into his ninth double play in the second inning Wednesday. He has only 117 at-bats as a Cardinal.