Cards pull closer in wild-card race
PHILADELPHIA The St. Louis Cardinals are making a playoff push by avoiding looking at the big picture.
Allen Craig hit two homers and drove in three runs, Chris Carpenter gave up eight hits in eight innings, and the Cardinals improved their playoff chances with a 5-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday night.
“Common sense is if you allow anything to distract you, then it’s going to take away from your best shot,” St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa said after the Cardinals pulled within 3½ games of the Atlanta Braves in the NL wild-card chase. “So don’t think about anything but the next game we’re going to play.”
Albert Pujols also homered for the Cardinals (83-69), who have won nine of 11. St. Louis remains 6½ back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
“We just need to take one day at a time,” Pujols said. “We took today’s game. Flip the page and hopefully come tomorrow and try to win the series.”
St. Louis has 10 games remaining while the Braves
(87-66) have nine.
Carpenter (10-9) recorded all but four of his outs by groundballs, and induced three double plays. Only three Phillies reached second and none advanced to third. Carpenter finished with five strikeouts and one walk.
Chase Utley had three hits for the Phillies (98-53), who rested just two starters a day after clinching their fifth straight NL East title.