Notes: Starters' shutout streak ends
Carpenter surrenders four runs over four innings on Friday
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The streak ended under the lights on Friday night.
Pete Orr's double to right field scored Edgar Renteria with two outs in the third inning, snapping a string of 26 straight scoreless innings for St. Louis starting pitchers in Grapefruit League games this spring.
It was the first of four runs against Chris Carpenter, who had a good news-bad news outing in his third-to-last start of camp. The right-hander struck out five and walked only one, but he yielded five doubles among eight base hits.
"I thought my stuff was better tonight than it was the last time, so I'm excited about that," Carpenter said. "I threw some good pitches. Everything worked nice. My cutter was good. My fastball had some good life on it, some good movement. My curveball was good. I got an out with a changeup. I threw a couple strikes with my changeup. I felt like I threw the ball pretty good."
Carpenter gave up some hard contact, but some of the doubles against him were of the less-than-overwhelming variety, including a squibber by Jeff Francoeur and a bit of a bloop by Renteria.
Carpenter also rapped an RBI single in the fourth inning, which put the Cardinals ahead at the time.
Big game lineup: For Friday's near-sellout game under the lights, manager Tony La Russa trotted out a lineup that very closely resembles what he likely will use on opening night against Tom Glavine and the Mets. At least seven positions, and likely eight players, from Friday's lineup will be the same on April 1.
Positions 1-7 on the defense are in little doubt for Opening Day, health permitting. Carpenter, catcher Yadier Molina, first baseman Albert Pujols, second baseman Adam Kennedy, third baseman Scott Rolen, shortstop David Eckstein and left fielder Chris Duncan all are close to locks.
With center fielder Jim Edmonds and right fielder Juan Encarnacion likely headed for the disabled list, Preston Wilson probably will start in either right or center for the opener. Wilson started in center on Friday night, the first time this spring he's played there. Wilson played five games in center for St. Louis last year.
"I saw him last year for us play center field a little bit," La Russa said. "But I'm interested to see how he looks this year. I think he'll play left, center and right equally well. He's got experience at all of them."
Scott Spiezio started in right field, and he's the longest shot of the nine to be in against Glavine. If Wilson starts in center for that game, then Spiezio could well get the call against the lefty. Another possible combination features So Taguchi in center with Wilson in right.
Patient Molina: With six walks in 27 at-bats, Molina has nearly a quarter as many free passes as he earned in the entire 2006 season. Molina had only one month in '06 during which he drew more than six walks.
He's also hitting the ball well, and the combination probably is not coincidental. Molina walked, singled twice and drove in two runs on Friday. For the spring, he's 9-for-27 with four RBIs and a .455 on-base percentage. Molina has struck out just once this spring.
"Walks are positive," said hitting coach Hal McRae. "That's good. He's seeing the ball better. Walks are important, especially for him, because he runs through stretches where he doesn't walk at all. Walks are important, always."
Hawksworth cut: The Cardinals optioned right-hander Blake Hawksworth to Triple-A Memphis on Friday, allowing the prospect to stretch out more on his way to being a Minor League starter. Hawksworth threw just one inning his last time out, on Tuesday against the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla.
Hawksworth, once the organization's No. 1 prospect, made a favorable impression in his first time in Major League camp.
"[He has] a good array of pitches," La Russa said, "and good composure."
Bozied stays back: Infielder Tagg Bozied stayed at Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Fla., on Friday rather than making the trip up to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Bozied is dealing with a sore hamstring he sustained in Thursday's game against the Dodgers.
"We left him back," La Russa said. "We just want to be careful with him. I'm not sure what it's going to turn out to be. I don't know how soon we'll push him. We have the off-day Monday. I don't think we'll see him before then."
Bozied had been one of only two players to appear in every Cardinals game this spring, along with Miguel Negron. With the exception of catcher Brian Esposito, every healthy Cardinals position player made the trip.
Weather report: Saturday is shaping up to be the coolest day the Cardinals have seen in quite a while, with first-pitch temperature predicted to be 64. The temperature is expected to rise to 68 by the end of the game. The forecast calls for no clouds and no chance of rain at Disney.
Coming up: The Cards and Braves will play for the fourth and final time this spring on Saturday afternoon, with a quick turnaround following Friday night's game. Braden Looper starts for St. Louis against John Smoltz, with first pitch at Cracker Jack Stadium set for 12:05 p.m. CT.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.