Streaking Carpenter lone Cardinal to solve Hamels

Streaking Carpenter lone Cardinal to solve Hamels

ST. LOUIS -- On a night when Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels dominated the Cardinals' lineup, Matt Carpenter clearly saw something his teammates didn't in a 1-0 loss Friday night.

Hamels went 7 2/3 innings and gave up three hits while striking out six. Two of those hits belonged to Carpenter, which allowed him to extend his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games. He also walked twice and was the only Cardinals hitter to reach base more than once.

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Carpenter was 2-for-10 lifetime against Hamels entering Friday.

"He just grinds at-bats," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He fights off pitches until he gets a good one. His second base hit is when the bat blew up. It's just staying in there and taking what they're giving him and not trying to do too much."

Carpenter is hitting .421 (16-for-36) with five multihit games over the course of his hitting streak. He has only struck out four times over the 10-game stretch and has walked in nine appearances. His mind hasn't been solely focused on hitting either, switching back from third base to second base on defense when Jhonny Peralta returned June 7.

‪"I've seen him [Carpenter] for quite a while, and he has made himself into a tremendous ballplayer," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He can play anywhere on the field. This guy can hit it out of the ballpark or hit it the other way."

It's not even Carpenter's best stretch of games this season. He was named National League Player of the Week earlier this month when he slashed .560/.577/.920 with 10 runs, seven extra-base hits and three RBIs.

"It's just one of those funny stretches you go through with baseball," Carpenter said that week. "When you feel good, you feel good. Hits come in bunches. I've had stretches this year where I've felt really good and was hitting balls right at people."

Friday marked the fourth time Carpenter has reached base in exactly four plate appearances, his average now up to .288 after hovering around .250 in May. Carpenter is also displaying patience. Coming into Friday, he was seeing an average of over four pitches per at-bat during his hitting streak. He's tied with Paul Goldschmidt (13) for second among Major Leaguers with multi-walk games this season.

"I think he had a great approach the whole game," said Aledmys Diaz, Carpenter's double-play partner. "He was just able to hit the strikes. He's a great hitter and he's having a really good stretch right now."

Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.