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July 1, 2013

Carpenter extends hit streak in loss to Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. — Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran combined for six hits, each with a home run and three RBIs, and Allen Craig added a solo home run. The rest of the lineup did not fare as well, leading to another series loss for St. Louis.

Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson homered and Tommy Milone overcame a rocky start to win for the first time in nearly four weeks as the Oakland Athletics held on to beat the Cardinals 7-5 on Sunday.

“In the beginning he was leaving a lot of balls up and we were hitting them,” Beltran said of Milone. “After that he started hitting the corners and he was using his change-up better. And they continued to score. Good pitchers find a way to regroup and pitch a good game. He did that.”

Jake Westbrook (4-3) suffered his first poor outing since coming off the disabled list and gave up his second home run of the season as the Cardinals lost for the sixth time in eight games, their worst stretch of the season.

“I just didn’t have it. It was a bad game,” Westbrook said. “We have to get back to making pitches that get us out of jams, to limit the damage. We have to get back to where we were winning series.”

The Cardinals are 1-3-1 in their past five series after going 11-0-2 in their previous 13.

“We’re playing good,” Beltran said. “We’re in a good division. It’s not going to be easy. Baseball is pitching and we have a good staff.”

St. Louis continues to lead the NL in hitting and rank third in pitching. Manager Mike Matheny is hardly worried at this point, despite the recent lack of success.

“It comes down to our starting pitchers have been so good all season long and they deserve that once in a while the offense picking them up,” he said. “We set a very high bar early and I hope these still believe in that. Jake is as good as anybody when he’s on. If he gets his sinker where he wants, there’s not a lineup around who will do a lot against him.”

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