La Russa made a calculated gamble to keep Carpenter on the shelf and use rookie Anthony Reyes.
The Brewers knocked around Reyes for five early runs, and Carpenter actually started preparing to face the Giants in a makeup game that would have taken place Monday. But the Astros lost in Houston, handing the Cardinals the division, and Carpenter was available to dominate in Game 1 against the Padres. Now he's also available to pitch again later in the series, should he be needed.
If at first you don't succeed ...
Leading, 4-0, Juan Encarnacion singled leading off the Cardinals' half of the sixth inning but was caught stealing second by Mike Piazza, who threw out just 13 of 110 would-be basestealers in the regular season.
Ronnie Belliard followed with another single and was green-lighted for another stolen-base attempt.
This time, Piazza's throw was late and Belliard was safe. It proved a good move when Yadier Molina -- with the pitcher on deck -- followed with a soft single to center field for a 5-0 lead.
The Padres trailed, 5-1, but started to rally when Russell Branyan tripled and Mike Cameron walked in the seventh. La Russa replaced Carpenter with lefty Tyler Johnson.
Bochy started emptying his bench, calling on pinch-hitters Josh Bard and Mark Bellhorn to try to continue the rally.
Johnson hit Bard on the foot with his first pitch, but Bellhorn -- who batted .190 during the regular season but .221 against lefties -- struck out. Todd Walker, who entered in an earlier double-switch, then hit an inning-ending groundout to second baseman Belliard, who made a slick play. That snuffed out what could have been a huge Padres rally.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.