Chris Carpenter started ahead of Roger Clemens in the All-Star Game, then topped him again a few days later.
The St. Louis righthander outpitched Clemens to become the National League's first 14-game winner. He tossed a three-hitter and inadvertently played a major role in his team's big inning, leading the Cardinals to a 3-0 victory yesterday that completed a three-game home sweep of the Houston Astros.
In his last eight starts, Carpenter (14-4) has allowed only five runs in 64 2/3 innings for a 0.70 ERA. This was his third shutout in that span, and his fourth of the season. He struck out nine and walked none.
Clemens (7-4) was almost as good. The exception was the Cardinals' three-run second, fueled by a pair of walks, Scott Rolen's RBI double, and first baseman Mike Lamb's throwing error that allowed two runs to score.
With the bases loaded and one out, the .051-hitting Carpenter hit a tapper to first. Lamb tried to go for a home-to-first double play but threw wide to the plate. Carpenter was forced to dodge the throw as the ball sailed to the backstop. Rolen scored from third and So Taguchi came in from second.
Clemens lasted seven innings, giving up three runs and five hits. He struck out only one.
Reds 9, Rockies 4 -- Host Cincinnati wrapped up a three-game sweep of Colorado with a display of power, as Javier Valentin homered from both sides of the plate and Ken Griffey and Sean Casey also went deep.
Valentin hit his first career grand slam and a three-run homer, becoming the team's first switch hitter to homer from both sides of the plate since Pete Rose in 1967. Griffey's 521st career homer tied him with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 14th on the all-time list.
Mets 8, Braves 1 -- Pedro Martinez (11-3) threw an economical six innings, allowing Atlanta just two hits on 61 pitches, and Mike Cameron paced host New York's offense with a two-run homer to earn a four-game split.
Brewers 5, Nationals 3 -- Milwaukee's Tomo Ohka (6-4) worked seven strong innings against his former team and Geoff Jenkins had a two-run double to lead the Brewers at home.
Phillies 8, Marlins 4 -- Vicente Padilla (5-8) allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings and tripled in two runs off struggling Dontrelle Willis (13-5), leading host Philadelphia.
Cubs 8, Pirates 2 -- Derrek Lee hit his major league-best 28th homer, Aramis Ramirez and Jeromy Burnitz added solo shots, and Carlos Zambrano (7-4) went eight innings as host Chicago rolled to its sixth win in seven games.
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 1 -- Chad Tracy had his first career two-homer game and Brad Halsey (6-7) handcuffed host San Diego over six innings to help Arizona close within 5 1/2 games of the NL West leaders.
Giants 4, Dodgers 1 -- Michael Tucker hit a three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth to lift San Francisco.