Rookie Carpenter helps Cardinals rip Cubs
BY R.B. FALLSTROM Associated Press
Monday, April 16, 2012
4/16/12 at 4:52 AM
ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Cardinals' other Carpenter is fast making a name for himself.
Rookie Matt Carpenter, no relation to injured pitcher Chris Carpenter, made his first opening day roster because of Skip Schumaker's spring training injury. He is getting a chance to play because Lance Berkman and David Freese have been nursing minor injuries.
When those guys come back, at the very least the Cardinals will have a very valuable bench piece.
"Berkman's in there joking, 'We found our first baseman,' " manager Mike Matheny said. "It's a great reward when you see somebody work as hard as Matt did."
The rookie homered, tripled and drove in five runs, backing strong pitching from Jake Westbrook in a 10-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
"We've got some guys dinged up, so the opportunty's there, I'm just trying to make the most of it," Carpenter said. "I couldn't tell you if I would have dreamed of having a day like this.
"You're just up there trying to grind it out and I was fortunate to have a pretty successful day."
The 26-year-old Carpenter is batting .409 with 10 RBIs in 22 at-bats, following up on success in spring training when he led the team with 25 hits. He singled his first two trips with an RBI, belted a two-run shot to straightaway center off Lendy Castillo in the fifth for his first career homer and added a two-run triple off Rodrigo Lopez in the seventh.
"The boy can swing it, there's no doubt about it," Cubs outfielder Joe Mather said. "Looks like he's here to stay."
Berkman missed the weekend series with a strained left calf but did some running Sunday and could be back Tuesday when the Cardinals open a three-game series against the Reds. Freese also could be back from an injured right ring finger, but outfielder Carlos Beltran was taken out in the sixth, four innings after he was hit by a pitch on the right forearm when he had trouble throwing.
"They both came in swearing up and down that Tuesday's their day, so we'll see what happens," Matheny said.
Cubs starter Paul Maholm (0-2) surrendered six runs in four innings. The left-hander is 0-7 with a 7.03 ERA in nine starts since his last win on July 10, 2011 against the Cubs when he was with Pittsburgh.
Original Print Headline: Rookie sparkles in Cardinal romp