Cards fare well in NL's loss

Cards fare well in NL's loss

DETROIT -- For Chris Carpenter, the All-Star Game really was over almost before it started. For his Cardinals teammates, it just seemed that way.

Carpenter tossed one inning as the National League's starting pitcher, while the three Cardinals in the NL's lineup each played into the fifth inning. Jason Isringhausen didn't get into the game. For all of them, the whirlwind experience of All-Star week left some amazing memories, but also a desire for a little more time to relax.

"It definitely went fast, but it was fun," said Carpenter, who allowed two hits in a scoreless first. "Definitely a good experience and I enjoyed it.

"This was my first experience and it definitely went by fast. There were a lot of things going on, and especially with us getting in so late, it was hard to enjoy the experience. But I tried to enjoy it as much as I could and it was fun."

The four Cardinals who played all pitched in, one way or another. But the sum total of their efforts wasn't enough. All of the Redbirds' starting contingent departed with the Senior Circuit facing a deep hole, and a late rally never got the NL back in a 7-5 loss.

Carpenter tossed an ultimately effective first inning before handing the ball over to a cast of thousands in relief. He retired Johnny Damon on a ground ball before permitting consecutive singles to Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. With danger looming, Carpenter induced a 6-4-3 double-play ball from the Majors' RBI leader, Manny Ramirez.

"I think maybe after the second hit, he thought, 'OK, now I've got to do my job,'" [Jim] Edmonds said. "And he did a good job. It's good for Chris. I think he deserves this one."

Edmonds and Albert Pujols each reached base once and David Eckstein turned in a nifty defensive play, but by the sixth they had all been pulled. The four Cardinals who started the game equaled the highest total of any team -- the Boston Red Sox had four American League starters.

"It was unbelievable," said Eckstein. "It was a great experience just being around all these great players. The only thing bad was that we lost. They came out and swung the bats pretty well, but it was definitely all it was built up to be."

Serving as the designated hitter for the NL, Pujols singled with two outs in the first inning. Derrek Lee followed with a strikeout, ending the inning. Edmonds drew a walk to put men on first and second with no outs in the fourth, but Aramis Ramirez hit into the NL's second double play to pour water on the threat.

Unfortunately for Edmonds, just about the time he started to feel settled in, he was removed from the ballgame.

All-Star Game 2005

"It took me three innings to be able to really play catch in the outfield and relax," Edmonds said. "It goes by so quick. The whole thing goes by so fast. Getting in so late, sleeping in till the last minute, trying to catch up the next day. I don't think I was awake for more than three or four hours without being at the ballpark. It was a great experience. Too bad it went so quick."

Eckstein went 0-for-2 in the No. 9 spot, but he made a slick stop on Damon's first-inning leadoff grounder, firing a strong one-hopper to retire the Red Sox speedster. Eckstein ranged well to his right, showing off a skill he's been trying to hone all season.

"The funny thing about that first play," said Eckstein, "is I've been working on that with [infield coach] Jose Oquendo every single day. ... We worked on it today actually, too."

Edmonds moved to right field in the top of the fifth when Andruw Jones came in the game, and was removed for pinch-hitter Moises Alou in the sixth. Jones actually took Eckstein's spot in the batting order, while Jimmy Rollins replaced him at shortstop. Carlos Lee pinch-hit for Pujols in the sixth.

The Cardinals arrived late in Detroit after a night game on the West Coast on Sunday night, and several players said they felt they were scrambling throughout the rest of the time in the Motor City. Still, for all of them, the experience was a treat just the same.

Even Isringhausen, who didn't pitch in his second trip to the Midsummer Classic, was smiling afterwards.

"They had a lot of horses down there left," he said. "Me and Billy [Wagner] were joking about it.

"It was fine."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.