(BaseballStL) -- On a day when the St. Louis Cardinals received encouraging news about one Carpenter (Chris), the ‘other’ Carpenter (Matt) continued his All-Star first half with a late go-ahead home run.
Carpenter lifted the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday with a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning off left-handed reliever Wesley Wright.
“It’s big,” Carpenter said. “Any home run you hit is exciting, but to do it late in the game to take the lead in a game we really needed to win is a good feeling.”
Wright was brought into the game with a runner on first base after Houston starter Jordan Lyles struck out Yadier Molina, who entered the game as a pinch hitter, to face Carpenter for the more favorable lefty-verse-lefty matchup.
“I take a lot of pride in those situations being a tough out,” Carpenter said. “Obviously the other team is thinking they are bringing in a lefty to get you out, so my goal in that situation is to do anything I can to make that not happen. Tonight it worked in my favor.”
After watching the first two 91-mph two-seam fastballs go by for a ball, Carpenter swung and missed on the third thrown by Wright. The fourth pitch thrown was once again the two-seamer, which sailed 393 feet for a 5-4 lead. It marked his ninth home run of the season and his fourth off a left-handed pitcher.
The home run off Wright was only a fraction of the success Carpenter has had this season off left-handed pitching. He is batting .294 (30-for-102) against the southpaws.
“I think he just wills himself to put together a good at-bat whether it’s a lefty or righty,” Mike Matheny said. “I think he takes it personal that they come in thinking that’s something he’d have more of a weakness with.
“Some guys are just highly motivated and I think that’s one of the things he takes a lot of pride in is putting together tough at-bats so they just don’t start firing left-handers in against us.”
If Carpenter’s success could be wrapped in one concrete reminder, it would have been the orange All-Star game jersey that was draped over his chair at his locker on Wednesday night. He’ll be wearing it for his first All-Star game on Tuesday.