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News » Cardinals-Brewers Preview 2009-09-07

Cardinals-Brewers Preview 2009-09-07

Cardinals-Brewers Preview 2009-09-07Even without his best stuff, Milwaukee couldn't beat Chris Carpenter a few days ago. The struggling Brewers likely won't have an easy time trying to do it again.

The right-hander tries for an 11th straight victory when the first-place St. Louis Cardinals open a three-game series against the Brewers at Miller Park on Monday.

Carpenter (15-3, 2.28 ERA) allowed three runs and eight hits while walking three in six innings in a 10-3 win over Milwaukee at home on Wednesday to improve to 9-0 with a 1.99 ERA against the NL Central this season.

"I don't think he was at his sharpest," Brewers manager Ken Macha said of Carpenter, who was also hit by a pitch on the left thumb. "But the sign of a good pitcher is when he's not sharp and he's able to give the innings and hold the other team down."

Carpenter has certainly been good over the last two months, going 10-0 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts since losing to San Francisco on June 30. He's 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA in eight starts against the Brewers. He gave up two hits and struck out 10 over eight innings of a 1-0, 10-inning loss at Milwaukee on May 25.

Looking for his highest win total since his 21-5 Cy Young Award-winning season in 2005, Carpenter tries to help the Cardinals - owners of an 11 1/2-game lead in the NL Central - continue their recent success against Milwaukee (66-70).

St. Louis (81-57) has won six of eight against the Brewers entering a series that at the beginning of the season appeared to be one that could impact the division race. That won't be case as St. Louis has gone 28-9 since July 27, while Milwaukee is 29-41 since June 19.

St. Louis looks to bounce back, however, after All-Star closer Ryan Franklin blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning of a 6-5 loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday for the Cardinals' third defeat in 14 games.

Franklin had converted his previous 13 save opportunities and 37 of 39 overall.

"He's been out there a lot, I think his stuff was not quite as sharp," manager Tony La Russa said. "We'll be careful in the Milwaukee series about how we use him."

Albert Pujols had three hits for the Cardinals to raise his average to .324. The perennial All-Star is batting .244 this season against Milwaukee, and .286 against scheduled starter Dave Bush (3-6, 6.47).

Bush didn't fare well against Carpenter and the Cardinals on Wednesday, giving up eight runs and 11 hits in 3 1-3 innings to take the loss. The right-hander has not won since May 19, and is 0-2 while allowing 13 runs in eight innings since coming off the disabled list last month from arm fatigue.

"I'm having a hard time kind of putting it all together," said Bush, who's 2-5 with a 7.38 ERA in seven starts against St. Louis.

While Bush looks to turn things around, the Brewers try for a second straight win after Prince Fielder hit his 37th homer in the 12th inning for a 2-1 win over San Francisco on Sunday.

The Brewers, who turned their first triple play since 1999, won for the second time in six contests.

"It was fun, especially the way the season is going now for us," said Fielder, who's 4 for 8 with a home run against Carpenter.

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Added: September 7, 2009

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