Carpenter, who has been sidelined since the first game of the season, had surgery earlier this year to relieve discomfort from bone spurs. Then, serving to underscore the weakness of the rotation without Carpenter at the top, left-hander Mike Maroth went out and got tagged for 10 runs in the first four innings at Atlanta, nine of them scoring with two out.
"That's incredible, getting nine runs like that," manager Tony La Russa said. "We don't know him that well, so it's hard to help him."
Maroth, who has yet to win in five starts for the Cardinals, gave up two home runs, running his total to eight in 25 1/3 innings for the Cardinals and, counting his time in Detroit this year, 23 homers in 104 innings.
Striking out no one in five innings, Maroth appeared to have particular problems with his changeup drifting high in the strike zone.
"I never gave my team a chance to win," said Maroth. "I got down in the first inning and it kept getting worse.
"I'm effective when I keep hitters off balance, and I haven't been able to do that for a while. I don't know if I'm too predictable. Having back-to-back bad outings is not fun."
Maroth has given up 18 runs and 20 hits in his last 10 innings. "Ten runs is unacceptable," he said of Thursday's effort.
The Cardinals had based much of their optimism for a second-half surge on Carpenter returning to the rotation next week. He would have made starts against the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, but Kip Wells (4-12) will have those starts now.
"(Carpenter) was a major part of our motivation to keep fighting," said La Russa. "That piece of help is not going to come. But it's more him than us. We've got to make sure he gets through it.
"The first surgery they removed three spurs and we got all excited, thinking that was the end of it. It wasn't until the first part of this week that I heard 'ligament.' "
BRAVES 10, CARDINALS 1: Left-hander Mike Maroth, who pitched into the eighth inning in his first start with the Cardinals after coming from Detroit, failed to last past the fifth inning for the fourth straight time Thursday. Maroth, 0-3 in five starts, pitched an inning longer than he probably expected to -- or deserved to -- having given up all 10 runs in the first four innings, but the Cardinals went down to 11 pitchers when they activated Jim Edmonds from the disabled list earlier in the day.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--CF Jim Edmonds, who had been out because of a pinched nerve, played for the first time since June 15. "I'm just hoping I've had enough rest," said Edmonds, who singled in his first at-bat and made a diving catch in the outfield. --3B Scott Rolen returned to the club after undergoing an arthrogram on his ailing left shoulder and getting a cortisone shot in St. Louis. He might be ready to play by Sunday night but might need more surgery after the season.
--RHP Andy Cavazos was optioned to Class AAA Memphis when CF Jim Edmonds was activated. The Cardinals are at 11 pitchers but probably will go to 12 for their July 28 doubleheader against Milwaukee.
--INF Brendan Ryan had two hits in a reserve role, hiking his average to .313.