Cardinals keep rolling

Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:04 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

ST. LOUIS — Chris Carpenter is happy with his record and is not concerned about being bypassed for the All-Star game.

With a trio of All-Star infielders backing him, Chris Carpenter struck out eight and walked none in seven-plus innings Monday to lead the St. Louis Cardinals against the Cincinnati Reds 4-1.

Carpenter, 9-3 with a 3.50 ERA, allowed one run and five hits, including an RBI single in the sixth to Barry Larkin.

“It’s an honor to be where I’m at right now, compared to where I was, to even be considered,” Carpenter said. “I’m just happy the way things are going and I’m going to continue to work.”

Carpenter missed most of the last two years because of a shoulder injury.

Edgar Renteria and Scott Rolen drove in two runs each, and Albert Pujols had three hits for St. Louis.

Larkin, also an All-Star, hit a drive up the middle that barely missed Carpenter’s head.

“It didn’t touch me but it brought some memories back,” Carpenter said. “I got hit in Chicago one time right on the side of the face.”

Carpenter, who had been 1-2 in his previous four starts, has pitched seven or more innings in nine starts. The Cardinals are 12-4 when he pitches.

After the All-Star selections were revealed Sunday, manager Tony La Russa spent several minutes talking to Carpenter at the player’s locker. A day later, both agreed Carpenter could use the three-day break.

“It’s not all bad,” La Russa said. “Chris knows he got consideration, and that’s a heck of a step from where he was last year and two years ago. And he’ll be nice and fresh when he starts the second half.”

Jason Isringhausen got three outs for his 19th save in 23 chances, walking Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn before striking out Wily Mo Pena to end the game.

St. Louis, an NL-best 50-32, is 4-0 on a nine-game homestand and moved a season-best 18 games above .500. Cardinals pitchers have allowed five runs in the four games.

“I think we’ve been good all year,” La Russa said. “And right now we’re really good.”

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