ST LOUIS (Reuters) - Chris Carpenter maintained his perfect start to the season as he led the streaking St Louis Cardinals to a 6-0 shutout of the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
The former Cy Young winner struck out eight batters over seven scoreless innings to improve his record to 4-0 and the National League Central-leading Cardinals won for the seventh time in eight games.
“It’s awesome,” Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols told reporters after his team finished a 6-1 homestand.
“The last three weeks we’ve been facing some quality pitching. We didn’t hit great on the road trip but coming back and winning six games was huge.”
Third baseman David Freese went 3-for-4 and opened the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning.
St Louis scored once in the third and fifth innings before Pujols delivered a base-clearing double in the seventh.
The Reds managed just three hits to lose for the second time in their three-game series with the Cardinals.
St Louis has a league-best 17-8 record and is enjoying both good pitching and hitting. Freese has been particularly hot and has 12 hits in his last 22 at-bats during a six-game hit streak.
“It was just one of those weeks,” Freese said. “Some weeks, you’re not going to play very good. This past week, I was hitting the ball well. We’re doing everything pretty well right now. We’re pitching well, playing good defense and scoring runs.”
After Carpenter’s dominant performance, relievers Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs both tossed an inning apiece to secure the win.
Cincinnati starter Aaron Harang allowed three runs in six innings while falling to 1-4 on the season.
Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien