ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chris Carpenter pitched a three-hitter for his first complete game in more than two years and Albert Pujols took care of the offense with a two-run homer and RBI double, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night.
The victory gave St. Louis a split of the four-game series and put the Cardinals in a tie for first in the National League Central with Milwaukee, which lost to the Florida Marlins.
Carpenter (4-0) needed just 95 pitches for his first complete game since Sept. 11, 2006, at Houston and 26th of his career. With the help of two double plays, he faced the minimum through 7 2-3 innings. Carpenter's ERA rose to 0.71 ERA.
Laynce Nix spoiled the shutout bid with his 18th homer to right field in the eighth.
Carpenter had retired 12 straight before Nix's hit. He struck out three, walked none and, had a single in the seventh for his first hit of the year.
Since returning from the disabled list May 20 with an oblique injury, Carpenter has allowed three earned runs and 14 hits in 28 innings.
He gave up singles to Chris Dickerson in the first and third, but got Brandon Phillips to ground into double plays both times to end the inning.
Aaron Harang (5-6) went the distance in losing his second straight. He gave up eight hits, striking out three and walking two in eight innings.
Pujols' 17th homer to left-center came one out after Skip Schumacker singled to lead off the third. He drove in his 48th run of the year with a double off the left-field wall that scored Colby Rasmus in the sixth, marking the fifth consecutive game in which Pujols has doubled.
Notes: Thursday marked Harang's 200th career start and is now 74-72 in his career. ... Jay Bruce finished the Reds' seven-game road trip 1 for 27, hitless in his last 17.
by the associated press