ST. LOUIS (AP) - In all his years with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chris Carpenter has never had a dry spell like this.
The 36-year-old Carpenter gutted out six innings and got a no-decision in an 8-7 loss to the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night, leaving him at 0-2 through seven starts this season. Before this year, in his six healthy seasons with St. Louis, Carpenter was 12-3 in the opening month.
``You don't deserve to win when you pitch like I did tonight,' Carpenter said. ``So that doesn't really matter, does it?'
Cardinals star Albert Pujols is 0 for 4 with the bases loaded after grounding into a force play against Brian Sanches with the game tied in the sixth inning. That cost Carpenter a chance at his first victory despite one of his shakier efforts.
Carpenter gave up six runs, four earned, and 10 hits. A 16-game winner last year, he easily could have five victories this season.
``Obviously it's not what I'm looking for,' he said. ``There's all kinds of things I could have done better.'
Carpenter's only clean inning against the Marlins was his last, when he retired the top of the order.
Mike Stanton hit a tiebreaking two-run drive in the ninth inning for his third homer in four games for Florida, which survived blowing a four-run cushion and secured at least a split in all five of its road sets. Gaby Sanchez had two hits and a bases-loaded walk, improving to 8 for 14 in the series.
The Marlins will send ace Josh Johnson to the mound against Jake Westbrook for Thursday's finale of the four-game series.
Leo Nunez gave up Jon Jay's second pinch-hit homer of the season in the ninth, but got Matt Holliday to ground into a game-ending double play for his 11th save in 11 chances. Holliday had two hits and an RBI and leads the NL with a .413 average.
Emilio Bonifacio and Omar Infante had three hits apiece after switching places in the Florida order, Bonifacio moving up to second and Infante down to seventh because of a 4-for-30 slump.
Eduardo Sanchez (1-1) had Hanley Ramirez down 0-2 before walking him on a full count to start the ninth. With one out, Stanton hit his fifth homer of the season to straightaway center.
Mike Dunn (2-1) got six straight outs in the seventh and eighth for the Marlins, whose 19-10 start is the best in franchise history.
The Cardinals committed a season-worst four errors - all in the first four innings - with two each by Carpenter and catcher Yadier Molina. Both had a miscue in the Marlins' two-run first, leading to an unearned run, and two runs scored on Molina's wild throw to first on a home-to-first double-play attempt on Stanton's grounder during Florida's four-run third.
Bonifacio clipped Molina as he released the throw. Carpenter and Ramirez had a nasty exchange after Ramirez flied out to end the fourth, but Carpenter said after the game it was a misunderstanding.
``I thought he went way out of his way to get Yaddy,' Carpenter said of Bonifacio. ``I didn't see it live as it looks on video, it wasn't anything cheap. Hanley was staring me down, for what I don't know, and I told him to stop looking at me.'
Molina limped away after getting clipped, but said it had been a clean play.
``Yeah, it was a tough night for us, but it's part of the game,' Molina said. ``We tried to be aggressive and sometimes you got to make the plays and sometimes you don't.'
Bonifacio and Infante were a combined 6 for 6 with an RBI over the first five innings. Bonifacio is 12 for 27 over his last seven games and is batting .350.
Marlins starter Javier Vazquez couldn't hold a 6-2 third-inning lead, departing after 5 2-3 innings. He's allowed at least one first-inning run in all six starts.
NOTES: Cardinals RHP Kyle Lohse is on track to make his next start, moving past a bruised right shin from getting struck by a liner on Monday. ... Marlins starting pitchers are 11-4, the fewest losses in the majors. ... Florida was 0 for 2 with the bases loaded but is batting .500 (18 for 36) in that situation with a major league-best three grand slams. ... RF Stanton nearly made a spectacular catch on Allen Craig's foul liner in the fifth, the ball glancing off his glove as he tumbled into the stands. Stanton said he spilled a fan's beer.
The Associated Press News Service
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