Cardinals Walk-Off on Carpenter's 10th-Inning Sacrifice Fly

5 years 1 week 2 days ago April 18, 2012 Apr 18, 2012 Wednesday, April 18 2012 Wednesday, April 18, 2012 7:12:00 AM CDT in Baseball
By: Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rookie Matt Carpenter wanted to be up with the game on the line for the St. Louis Cardinals and rookie manager Mike Matheny obliged him.

Carpenter hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 10th inning to give the Cardinals to a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

David Freese walked to lead off the inning off Sam LeCure (0-1). Tyler Greene came in as a pinch-runner and advanced on a sacrifice by Yadier Molina, the 37th of his career. After an intentional walk, left-handed reliever Bill Bray entered and walked Daniel Descalso to load the bases.

That put the left-handed hitting Carpenter in against Bray.

"Statistically he's been pretty good against lefties his whole career, as short a career as it's been," Matheny said. "I liked our odds with him making something happen."

Carpenter, who returned to the bench after playing the last four games for the injured Lance Berkman, made Matheny's move pay off.

He worked the count full before flying out to right field. Jay Bruce's throw home was unable to nab Greene. It was Carpenter's 11th RBI of the season.

"Bases loaded, chance to win a ballgame as a pinch-hitter, that's a situation you want to be in," Carpenter said. "I mean, my heart was pumping a little bit. As a hitter, you dream of it. It's a lot of fun, and it's lot more fun when you pull it off.

"With Tyler at third, you don't have to crush it all the way to the wall. Things are working out."

Carpenter is hitting .409 and came off a game Sunday where he had four hits and five RBIs.

"It didn't take a genius to watch a guy do what he did yesterday and realize he's pretty hot," Matheny said, "and then realizing their move is to leave the lefty in and knowing the stats and knowing he hits lefties well, it all played together pretty well."

The Cardinals scored the winning run without an official at-bat -- a walk, a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a sacrifice fly.

That caught the eye of Cincinnati coach Dusty Baker.

"We're playing just good enough to lose right now," Baker said. "We just have to execute better. You practice and practice and preach and talk about things, it's just not happening."

Jason Motte (1-0) worked the 10th for St. Louis.

Cincinnati used two errors and a single for an unearned run to tie the game at 1 in the eighth. Descalso let Ryan Hanigan's grounder go through his legs at second for an error. Reliever Mitchell Boggs mishandled pinch-hitter Wilson Valdez' sacrifice, allowing pinch-runner Devin Mesoraco to reach second. Zack Cozart singled to right two outs later to score Mesoraco.

Carlos Beltran gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead when he hit a first-inning home run into the right-field bullpen.

"It was a slider. I tried to throw a strike and it just stayed high for me," said Reds starter Johnny Cueto, who pitched seven innings, allowing seven hits. "It was my fault. I should not do that."

Beltran, who also singled and walked, contributed a defensive gem in the third inning. He cut down Drew Stubbs trying to go first to third on a single with a one-hop throw to Freese from right field. Beltran had 10 outfield assists last season.

St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse opened the game with 12 consecutive strikes, and finished with seven scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and struck out the side after a walk and a single in the fourth inning.

"I had good location," Lohse said. "It's not normal for me to strike out three guys in a row but I hit my spots. It was good to get and keep them to no runs."

Lohse, who threw 90 pitches, struck out six in dropping his ERA to 0.90 after three starts.

"It's just a shame we couldn't get him a 'W' out of that," Matheny said. "He was terrific. That's as good as you can ask for anybody."

After Cueto hit Molina to start the second inning, home plate umpire Tony Randazzo immediately warned him and both benches. Jon Jay followed with a single to center, but Cueto pitched out of the jam.

St. Louis stranded eight runners in the first four innings when Cueto threw 79 pitches.

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