(Sports Network) – Slumping right-hander Chris Carpenter can end a three-start overall losing streak and a four-month winless drought against Chicago when the St. Louis Cardinals visit the Cubs today in the middle test of a three- game weekend series at Wrigley Field.
Carpenter, a 35-year-old New Hampshire native and first-round pick of Toronto in 1993, improved to 15-5 on the year with a 4-2 defeat of Cincinnati on Sept. 5, but has since dropped decisions to Atlanta, the Cubs and Florida as the Cardinals fell off the pace in the National League’s Central Division.
St. Louis enters the day trailing Cincinnati by 6 1/2 games with just nine to play, though they beat the Cubs on Friday, when Allen Craig hit a three-run homer and Adam Wainwright became the NL’s second 20-game winner thanks to six sturdy innings of work in a 7-1 victory.
Wainwright (20-11) yielded the lone run on six hits while walking one and fanning seven, and added a run-scoring double to become the Redbirds’ first 20-game winner since Carpenter won 21 times in 2005.
Albert Pujols went 1-for-2, walked three times and scored twice for the Cardinals, while Matt Holliday singled, drew two free passes and scored a run.
Tom Gorzelanny (7-9) absorbed the loss after allowing seven runs on seven hits and five walks while fanning four over 3 1/3 innings for the Cubs, who had a five-game win streak over St. Louis snapped. Chicago still holds an 8-5 advantage in the season series.
Carpenter is 10-5 with a 3.06 earned run average in 21 lifetime starts against Chicago, but has dropped consecutive decisions to the Cubs on Aug. 14 and Sept. 15 while allowing 13 hits and eight runs across 12 1/3 innings. He got a no-decision against the Cubs in a 4-3 St. Louis win on July 25 and last beat them after tossing 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a 7-1 victory on May 28.
He is 4-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 15 road starts this season.
For Chicago, rookie Casey Coleman makes his first start against the Cardinals in his 11th big-league appearance.
The 15th-round pick in 2008 from Florida Gulf Coast University pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three batters in an Aug. 13 relief outing in St. Louis, a game the Cardinals won by a 6-3 score.
Coleman has started six straight times since, going 2-2 while pitching at least six innings five times and allowing 35 hits and 16 runs in 34 2/3 innings overall. He won at Florida in his last start on Sept. 18, going six innings and allowing three runs with five strikeouts.
Though the Cardinals have lost eight of 13 matchups with the Cubs this year, they’ve prevailed in four of the seven games between the rivals held in Wrigley Field.