Carpenter seeks more success against Reds

Chris Carpenter has enjoyed pitching against the Cincinnati hander gets a chance to add to game series.

Carpenter is 2-1 in four meetings with the Reds this season and 14-4 with a 2.23 earned run average in 22 career starts. He delivered eight innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 win at Cincinnati on July 16. Carpenter prevailed in three of four decisions after that stint at Great American Ball Park, but is just 0-1 over his previous three outings.

The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner was roughed up for six runs and nine hits in five innings of a 7-0 setback versus Pittsburgh on Saturday and fell to 8-9 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 overall starts. Carpenter is 3-3 in 14 trips to the Busch Stadium mound this season and hitters are batting .274 against him.

St. Louis is 7 1/2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central standings and recorded its fourth straight win with Thursday's 8-4 victory over the Brewers. Albert Pujols had a monster day at the plate and helped the Cardinals trim the division deficit by hitting two homers, one of which was a grand slam, and finishing with five RBI. He went 4-for-4 with three runs scored, while Matt Holliday and Rafael Furcal both went deep.

"As many games as we have left, if we keep playing the way we did here, then we still have a pretty good chance," said Pujols of the team's playoff prospects.

Pujols is now tied with Dave Kingman for 37th on the career home runs list with 442 after recording his 42nd career multi-home run game. Brandon Dickson allowed three runs on six hits in his first major-league start, but lasted just 3 1/3 innings. Octavio Dotel struck out five in 2 2/3 frames of scoreless relief to secure the win.

Cincinnati was swept in four games by Philadelphia at home for the first time since 1916 and dropped a 6-4 decision Thursday afternoon.

Reds starter Mike Leake gave up four runs in six innings to take the loss, while Jared Burton allowed the other two runs.

"I wasn't attacking them," Leake said. "I needed to go after them and not worry about them nickel-and-diming or getting the big hit."

Chris Heisey hit a pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh inning for the Reds, who will begin a nine-game road trip tonight against the Cardinals, Cubs and Rockies.

Dominican right-hander Johnny Cueto draws the start for the Reds this evening and he's 9-5 with a 2.05 earned run average in 21 starts. He is 2-0 in his last four starts and has posted consecutive no-decisions, including a 5-4 win over Washington on Sunday. He held the Nationals to a pair of runs on a season-high nine hits with a career-best 11 strikeouts over seven innings.

Cueto, who is 5-3 in 12 starts away from home this season, is 1-1 with a 1.19 ERA in three starts against St. Louis in 2011. For his career, Cueto owns a 4-4 mark and a 4.64 ERA in 12 career matchups -- all starts -- with the Cardinals.

The Reds have won seven of 12 meetings with St. Louis this season.