Not bad for this team huh? All we need is Carp back and Ankiel a permanent spot on the roster and we may have a post-season contendah .
Braden Looper worked six solid innings and Rick Ankiel had three hits and two RBIs, helping the St. Louis Cardinals hand Aaron Harang another tough luck loss with a 5-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
Aaron Miles had a pair of RBI singles and Jason Isringhausen earned his ninth save in 11 chances for the surprising Cardinals, who won a franchise-record 18 games the first month of the season. Last year's team needed 43 games to win No. 18, and the total surpassed the previous best set in 2000 and 2006.
A heavy early home schedule helped the Cardinals, who are 12-6 at 3-year-old Busch Stadium. They took two of three from the Reds and have won four of five overall.
The opening month also has been a good one for Looper (4-1), who allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings while throwing a career-high 114 pitches. Looper, who moved to the rotation last year after a long career as a closer and setup man, is 7-2 with a 2.88 in 11 career first-month starts.
Ankiel was 8-for-13 with a homer and five RBIs in the series and has the go-ahead RBI in six of St. Louis' victories.
Harang (1-4) has worked at least six innings in each of his seven starts and has little to show for his 2.98 ERA because the Reds have totaled 23 runs in his outings. He allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his team-leading seventh home run for the Reds, who are 3-5 since Walt Jocketty was named general manager. Jocketty was the Cardinals' GM for 13 seasons prior to this year.
Encarnacion homered for the first time in seven games leading off the second. Left fielder Chris Duncan just missed a leaping attempt in the corner as the ball went slightly under his glove and bounced off the top of the wall. Joey Votto followed with a double and scored on Ryan Freel's two-out infield hit.
The Cardinals needed a wild pitch by Harang to score a run in the second on three hits and a walk, then took a 3-2 lead in the third with four straight hits, including RBI singles by Miles and Ankiel. Skip Schumaker was safe on a close play at the plate on Miles' single, ducking under catcher David Ross' sweeping tag as he slid.