Mr. Baker, meet Mr. Carpenter, a.k.a. Mr. Clutch 2012.
For the second time in as many games, Matt Carpenter, who made the roster as a bench player, gave the Cardinals a win, this time in walk-off fashion against the Reds. Oh yeah, in his first at bat of the game … in the 10th inning. Cards win it 2-1 in their first extra inning game of the year.
I suppose this is where I invoke the “small sample size” rule in order to curb my enthusiasm about young Matt Carpenter’s swell start. But, I really am impressed with the way this kid is playing right now. I mean, when Lance Berkman was out for a few games, there were plenty of worried glances around Cardinal Nation. But “Mini-Carp” showed no fear. And after starting the night back on the bench, he made good on his bases-loaded, one-out opportunity to end Tuesday’s standoff, grabbing his 10th RBI in the process. That ties him for second, behind David Freese.
Most importantly, though, Cardinals win. With all these division games in the first month, every win is exceptionally important!
Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from Tuesday night’s battle.
Kyle Lohse. The guy is doin’ work. He finished the day with seven innings pitched, and no runs on four hits. That means through 20 1/3 innings, he’s given up two runs. How much of a relief will it be if he keeps this up?! Especially with Chris Carpenter out and Adam Wainwright still finding his way back to form, Lohse seems to be the go-to guy. *Knock on wood*
Carlos Beltran. When he’s on, he’s really, really on. And I’d say early on, he’s locked and loaded. He blasted his fourth home run of the year to put the Cardinals ahead early. That 1-0 lead would hold up until a few unfortunate bobbles allowed the Reds to score in the eighth inning.
Matt Carpenter is an obvious pick. But also, Tyler Greene. No, he didn’t have the chance to play defense or swing the bat. He just did what he does best — RUN! He replaced David Freese in the 10th inning and raced home to score the winning run on Matty Carp’s sac fly.