Carpenter homered in the 10th inning against Craig Kimbrel in the All-Star closer's return from the injured list, and St. Louis regrouped after blowing a late lead to beat the Cubs 5-4 Thursday night.
The significance of an emotion-charged road victory in the series opener with emerging ace Jack Flaherty on the mound wasn't lost on Manager Mike Shildt and his team.
Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo provided a jolt in his unexpected return from a sprained right ankle, homering in the third inning to tie the game at 1.
The Cubs finally broke through against closer Carlos Martinez in the ninth, which Nicholas Castellanos led off with a walk then advanced to second on Kris Bryant's single.
After Kyle Schwarber was called out on strikes, Ben Zobrist hit an RBI double just inside the right field line.
Shortly after the he warmed up in the outfield while team medical personnel looked on, he was inserted into the leadoff spot and tabbed to play first base about 20 minutes before first pitch.
- Carpenter homers vs Kimbrel, Cardinals bump Cubs from wild-card spotSan Francisco Chronicle
- Storybook interrupted: Anthony Rizzo's dramatic return, 9th-inning comeback not enough for CubsChicago Sun-Times
- Injured Anthony Rizzo Comes Back To Homer, But Cubs Lose To CardinalsCBS Chicago
- Carpenter HRs off Kimbrel as Cards beat CubsESPN (blog)
- Closing Windows--Cardinals 5 Cubs 4ChicagoNow (blog)
- Cubs pull out all the stops as reinforcements arrive for series opener against NL Central-leading CardinalsChicago Tribune
- Cubs lose Cole Hamels to injury right as Craig Kimbrel returnsNBCSports.com
- Scenes as Cardinals take a thriller in WrigleySTLtoday.com
- National League Playoff Update: Brewers Win as Cubs FalterNBC Chicago