St. Louis (44-24) at Cincinnati (27-42)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 22° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Mon Jun 20, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Chris Carpenter looks to become the National League’s second 10-game winner as the surging St. Louis Cardinals begin a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Carpenter won a career-high 15 games in 2004 with St. Louis and he’s on pace to top that total this season. The 30-year-old right-hander is 9-4 with 93 strikeouts and a 3.17 ERA after 14 starts.

The 6-foot-6 Carpenter pitched a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts in his first start against the Toronto Blue Jays since they cut him in 2002, leading the Cardinals to a 7-0 victory on Tuesday.

“He’s so big. He throws downhill at you,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He throws 94 mph with that big old hook that he can control. It’s tough to hit that.”

Florida’s Dontrelle Willis and the Chicago White Sox’s Jon Garland are the majors’ only 11-game winners.

The defending National League champions increased their cushion over the second-place Chicago Cubs to a season-high 9 1/2 games with Sunday’s 8-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

At 44-24, St. Louis is off to its best start in more than 60 years.

“It’s a long season. You don’t look at the record, you don’t look at anything. You just look to go out there and play the game hard everyday,” said Albert Pujols, who had three hits and two RBIs.

“When September comes, that’s when you start worrying about the record and see where you are. … Anything can happen. You don’t want to sit back and feel comfortable. You make sure you keep going.”

Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen, who returned to the lineup Saturday night after missing 33 games with a shoulder injury, had the day off Sunday. Center fielder Jim Edmonds sat out his sixth straight game with a hairline fracture of the left middle rib.

Ken Griffey Jr. hit a tiebreaking, three-run shot in the eighth inning Sunday, rallying the Reds to an 11-8 victory over the Atlanta Braves and snapping a Cincinnati’s six-game losing streak.

Griffey’s 513th career homer moved him into sole possession of 16th place on the career list.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Carpenter StL vs. A. Harang Phi
21-5 Record 11-13
2.83 ERA 3.83
213 K 163
51 BB 51
1.06 WHIP 1.27