ST. LOUIS (AP) - Philadelphia right-hander Roy Oswalt's back tightness flared up again.
Oswalt lasted just two innings in the Cardinals' 12-2 victory over the Phillies on Thursday night.
Oswalt (4-6) was forced out of the game due to tightness in his lower back, the same ailment that landed him on the disabled list from April 27-May 16.
Oswalt gave up five hits and four runs in his two innings, his shortest start since a two-inning stint in a 9-7 loss to Atlanta on September 20, 2009.
``It's been bothering me for a little while,' Oswalt said. ``The last start in Seattle, a couple of pitches bit me pretty good.'
Oswalt will be examined by doctors in the next few days.
``We'll have to wait and see,' said Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel. ``I'm concerned because it's been bothering him for quite a while.'
Oswalt gave up a first-inning home run to Jon Jay and then gave up hits to four of the first six batters in the second. He left the game trailing 4-0.
``You could tell Oswalt was not himself,' said St. Louis manager Tony La Russa. ``We took advantage of that.'
Said Oswalt: ``I was more heaving the ball than throwing the ball.'
St. Louis right-hander Chris Carpenter threw seven strong innings and Jay and Lance Berkman homered to lead the Cardinals to victory.
Carpenter (2-7) picked up his first victory since May 10. He allowed one run and five hits to end a string of seven successive starts without a win. Carpenter struck out seven and walked one.
Carpenter has dealt with a lack of offensive support throughout most of the season. He entered the game with the 11th-lowest run support among NL starters at 3.38 run per game.
But the Cardinals' bats were hot early to build up a 5-0 lead after three innings, giving Carpenter plenty of breathing room. The 12-run outburst is the largest at home this season.
``I still feel like I'm a quality guy that runs out there every fifth day,' Carpenter said. ``I believe in myself and I believe in my stuff, and my ability to get outs.'
Carpenter has gone at least six innings in 14 of 16 starts this season. He allowed three runs or fewer in four of his past six starts, but was unable to pick up a victory due to the lack of offensive support.
``I just feel like every time he's taken the mound, he's had hard luck,' Berkman said. ``The guy just can't catch a break.'
Berkman capped off a six-run outburst in the eighth with a three-run homer, his 18th of the season.
St. Louis won for the first time since three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols fractured his left forearm on Sunday. The Cardinals managed just two runs and 11 hits during the first two games without Pujols, who is out 4 to 6 weeks.
The Phillies, who were looking to sweep the three-game series, closed out a six-game road trip at 3-3.
Carpenter lowered his ERA to 4.26 with a 124-pitch effort.
``I don't know about his scuffling,' Philadelphia outfielder Shane Victorino said. ``He pitched well tonight. His velocity was there and he hit his spots.'
The Cardinals scored early to stake Carpenter to a 5-0 cushion. Jay got the offense going with a first-inning home run. St. Louis tallied three times in the second. Colby Rasmus and Skip Schumaker started the rally with singles. Rookie catcher Tony Cruz followed with an RBI single. After a Carpenter sacrifice bunt, Ryan Theriot drove in two runs to push the lead to 4-0.
Carpenter retired 10 of the first 11 hitters he faced. He gave up a two-out RBI hit to Ryan Howard in the sixth.
``He was nasty the whole game,' said Cruz, who finished 2 for 3 with the first two RBIs of his career. ``Whatever I called, he was there. He was just on.'
Matt Holliday drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the eighth off reliever Danys Baez, who gave up six runs in the inning.
Carlos Ruiz hit a two-out homer in the ninth for Philadelphia.
NOTES: The Phillies fell to 19-17 on the road. ... Holliday broke out of an 0-for-10 skid with a third-inning double. ... Carpenter is 6-2 in his career against Philadelphia. ... Berkman has 54 RBI. He had 58 all of last season. .... Victorino singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak against St. Louis to 17 games.
The Associated Press News Service
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