The new-look Cardinals lineup, with Matt Holliday hitting third and Albert Pujols fourth, didn't exactly pulverize the Nationals on Tuesday. But new leadoff man Felipe Lopez cracked his first hit since coming off the disabled list -- a two-run homer -- and No. 2 man Ryan Ludwick smacked the game-winner, a 434-foot clout in the eighth inning.
Though Chris Carpenter has made just 22 percent (nine) of the Cardinals' 40 starts, the Cardinals have hit 40.5 percent (15) of their 37 total homers in those starts, including both by Lopez.
Speaking of home runs, Carpenter, who served up a solo homer to Wil Nieves in the fifth inning, already has matched his total for all of last season by allowing seven. But he is 5-1 overall and 6-1 in his career against the Montreal/Washington franchise.
Showing little sign of
wear, Carpenter endured 118 pitches -- his longest outing since 2006. He had
plenty of potential trouble.
"The score was 2-2 when he left," manager Tony La Russa said. "He didn't give it up."
Somehow, despite the high pitch total, Carpenter didn't walk a batter for the third time this season.
CARDINALS 3, NATIONALS 2: Ryan Ludwick, who has hit safely in 16 of 18 games at Busch Stadium this season, smoked his longest homer of the season, 434 feet, to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning. The Cardinals had just three men in scoring position during the game, but their one hit with a man at second was Felipe Lopez's two-run homer in the third.
NOTES AND QUOTES
3B David Freese had a stellar game, starting one of the Cardinals' two double plays and making a couple of other strong plays. "He's everything that (Class AAA Memphis manager) Chris Maloney said," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said afterward. "He's got a very quick couple of steps in either direction. He's got good hands. And he's got a strong, accurate arm. Sounds like a heckuva third baseman to me."
2B Skip Schumaker gradually is coming out of his offensive funk. He extended his hitting streak to eight games (9-for-29) but he also extended his streak of games in which he has made two errors. For the second night in a row, the former outfielder was charged with two miscues. Manager Tony La Russa kiddingly said, "He cut a wrist. If we'd have lost, he would have cut both wrists. He's a very proud guy. The first one, he just took his eye off it a little. The second one … that was a hard play … but he doesn't understand that."
SS Brendan Ryan again was benched in the midst of his 1-for-30 dive. He appeared as a pinch runner and got picked off as he was preparing to steal second in the eighth. "I had to put my arm around him," manager Tony La Russa said. "He didn't do anything wrong. He's running on that pitch and they did a really good job. He's upset because he made an out, but he didn't make a mistake."
RHP Ryan Franklin didn't walk a batter for the 17th consecutive appearance as he posted his ninth save in 10 tries.
After 40 games, the Cardinals are 12-6 at home and 11-11 on the road.
By The Numbers:
9—Games the Cardinals went without a home run before they hit two on May 14. That was their longest dry spell since they had 10 homerless games in May 2007.
Quote To Note:
"I stopped worrying about where my body was, where my hands were … I went back to just trying to see the baseball."
—RF Ryan Ludwick, whose average had slipped into the .250s before he went on a recent eight-game hitting streak.
The Cardinals have no significant injuries.