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