I had to check the calendar once again to remind myself that it was 2009. I thought I was watching a replay of a game Chris Carpenter pitched during his 2005 Cy Young season.
The longtime Redbird absolutely dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, winning a close 2-1 game to split the series at two games apiece.
Carpenter struck out seven batters while only giving up a single hit and pitching seven dominating innings. It was a fantastic sight to see as the Cardinals ace look as if he has returned to his old form.
Carpenter took a no-hitter deep into the seventh inning with only one more out needed to get into the eighth. It was his first win since the 2006 World Championship season in the World Series.
A masterful performance indeed.
After the debacle that was Todd Wellemeyer during Wednesday's 7-4 loss to the Pirates, this was a welcome gift to the St. Louis faithful.
The offense for the Redbirds was kept in check for the most of the game, as former New York Yankees pitcher Ross Ohlendorf gave up seven hits but was only charged with two earned runs.
Catcher Yadier Molina lead the way for the Cardinals offense, scrounging out a 2-for-3 RBI performance. Platoon infielder Brian Barden provided a pinch hit RBI single to put the Redbirds over the top for the victory.
In the ever-growing saga that is the St. Louis bullpen, longtime reliever Dennys Reyes was called upon by manager Tony LaRussa for the closing duty today. An interesting choice, to say the least, as I thought Jason Motte might get chance to redeem himself after his opening day collapse.
Platoon closer Ryan Franklin dominated his lone inning in the eighth, as the bullpen showed signs of solidification for the first time this season.
Not enough can be said for the performance of Chris Carpenter, though. To this St. Louis follower, the outing he turned in settled many nerves. However, to put this all into perspective...this is April, and it was only the Pittsburgh Pirates.
St. Louis now travels to Houston to take one of their division rivals, the Astros.