Carpenter looks to continue his dominance over the Pirates and the NL Central as the first-place Cardinals try to avoid their fourth straight loss Friday night when they open a weekend set in Pittsburgh.
The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner is 11-1 with a 2.27 ERA in 13 career starts against the Pirates. Since losing to them in June 2004, the right-hander is 10-0 in 11 starts.
Carpenter (4-0, 2.84 ERA) is coming off his best outing of the year as he limited Cincinnati to two hits over seven innings, and struck out eight Sunday in the Cardinals’ 6-0 victory.
“They know what I’ve got, they see me many times. To go out and be able to make pitches, keep them off balance, it was a fun game,” said Carpenter, who has won 13 straight decisions while posting a 1.86 ERA against NL Central foes dating to last season.
St. Louis (18-11) heads to Pittsburgh following a 7-2 road loss to the Phillies on Thursday. After posting a 6-3 win in the series opener, the Cardinals totaled three runs while losing three in a row to the two-time defending NL champions.
Reigning two-time NL MVP Albert Pujols(notes) has 23 homers and 69 RBIs at PNC Park - his highest career totals in both categories on the road. He’s also hitting .415 during an 11-game hitting streak, and will get the chance to pad all those numbers against Zach Duke(notes) (2-3, 6.09), who looks to end a personal slide.
Since failing to record a decision April 16, the left-hander is 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA. Duke allowed four runs over six innings of a 5-1 road loss to the Dodgers on Saturday.
“He’s better than that,” manager John Russell told the Pirates’ official website of Duke, who is 4-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 13 career starts versus St. Louis.
Pittsburgh (13-15) completed its first three-game sweep of the Cubs in nearly four years with an 11-1 rout Thursday. Brian Burres(notes) allowed three hits over seven shutout innings, Lastings Milledge(notes) drove in four runs and Garrett Jones(notes) plated three as the Pirates improved to 8-4 at home this year.
Russell’s club hadn’t won by more than four runs since beating Los Angeles 11-5 on April 5.
“We’ve been on the other side of that a few times,” Russell said.
Jones has been the Pirates’ hottest hitter this month, batting .467 (7 for 15) with six RBIs in four games. That surge has allowed the right fielder to raise his batting average 40 points to .247.
Jones’ lone career hit off Carpenter is a solo homer.
St. Louis was 10-5 against the Pirates last season, including a 6-3 mark in Pittsburgh.