In last night’s 12-8 Cardinals victory over the Pirates that pretty much had everything, one player just did what he’s been doing all season: Matt Carpenter.
Carpenter led off the Cardinals first with a walk, scored on a Carlos Beltran single, tripled in the third, scored on a Jon Jay double, doubled in the seventh — the third of the Cardinals nine consecutive hits for the inning — and scored when Jon Jay singled.
Last night he tied Albert Pujols for the most hits in a season at Busch Stadium III with 98. (Chances are excellent he’ll break it, don’ t you think?) With his double — his 47th of the season — he surpassed Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby for most by a Cardinals second baseman in a season.
Carpenter is hitting .423/.464/.731 in September and has hit in every game this month (plus on Aug. 31, so he has a seven-game hit streak). He had the only Cardinal hits — two — in their 1-0 loss in Cincinnati on Tuesday.
His 47 doubles lead the majors, as he’s one better than Manny Machado of the Orioles. He leads the majors in runs scored with 109 — second place is a three-way tie between Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis and Shin-Soo Choo with 96 each. He leads the National League in hits with 172 (Mike Trout leads the majors with 176, while Adrian Beltre, Cabrera and Machado all have 174). He leads the NL in multi-hit games with 55. Depending on which source for Wins Above Replacement you prefer, he’s either third in the NL at 5.9 (Fangraphs) or fifth at 5.7 (Baseball Reference).
He’s legitimately a candidate for National League MVP. In his first season playing second base, remember too. And where would the Cardinals be without him?
Thankfully, we don’t have to wonder — and instead can watch and marvel at his consistent performance day after day.
And, with his contributions to last night’s crazy win, the Cardinals are only half a game behind the Pirates in the NL Central with two more games remaining in the series.
A little more on last night: the Cardinals had a 5-0 lead after the third — three straight doubles that inning by Jon Jay, Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran scored three — and then scored seven runs in the seventh. As mentioned above, they has nine straight hits — all without making an out — with the best being Yadi’s three-run homer after being knocked down by Bryan Morris. So, 12-1 after seven. Joe Kelly with another good outing as he played his stopper role as he needed to once more. No problem, right?
And then came Jake Westbrook …
But, hey, Edward Mujica got his 36th save!
The action picks back up tonight at 6:15 p.m., with Adam Wainwright obviously looking to bounce back from his previous two rough starts against the Reds. Starting for the Pirates is Jeff Locke, who was sent to the minors following his last big league start in late August and has a 7.02 ERA in his previous seven starts. Given last night’s offense and the two starters’ recent histories, it will probably be a 1-0 game.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.