Carpenter, who had a breakout season in 2004 with 15 wins before a biceps injury knocked him out of the postseason, is 21-4 this year and the NL Cy Young Award favorite.
“This is mowing them down, three up, three down.”
Carpenter, Dontrelle Willis of Florida and Houston’s Roger Clemens appear to be the leading candidates for the NL Cy Young. Willis pitched a complete game to earn his 21st win against Houston on Monday.
Carpenter limited the New York Mets to three hits over seven innings in a 5-0 victory Thursday.
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa thinks the race for the Cy Young is already over.
“I think I respect what Dontrelle has done,” La Russa said. “Second is really an important finish, too. But I think Carp’s put together some kind of season.”
Carpenter has been unbeatable since early June. He’s 13-0 with a 1.36 ERA since losing on June 8 to Boston. He has a shot at Bob Gibson’s franchise record for consecutive wins set in 1968, one of the most dominant seasons in modern major league history.
Gibson won 15 straight decisions in ’68 and posted a major-league record 1.12 ERA on his way to the first of his two Cy Youngs.
The Cardinals’ powerful offense got even stronger with the return of Reggie Sanders on Monday.
Sanders, who received a standing ovation before his first at-bat, was 0-for-2 with a walk before being lifted for a pinch runner in the seventh inning of a 4-3 victory over the Pirates on Monday.
Sanders was on the 15-day disabled list for nearly two months with a broken leg sustained in an outfield collision with Jim Edmonds on July 15.
St. Louis has won 11 of 14 meetings this season with Pittsburgh, and has won 18 of the past 21 meetings.