Chris Carpenter had to figure there might be a hitch at some point along the way in his remarkable return.
The St. Louis Cardinals' longtime postseason ace came back from a complicated operation that removed a rib and two neck muscles just to get on the mound again this October for the reigning World Series champions.
His recent run of spectacular playoff pitching ended in one rough inning as St. Louis lost Game 2 of the NL championship series to the San Francisco Giants 7-1 on Monday night and headed back home to Busch Stadium with the best-of-seven matchup tied at 1.
Carpenter surrendered Angel Pagan's leadoff homer in the first, then made quick work of the Giants with consecutive 11-pitch innings before a mistake-filled fourth did in the Cardinals.
And, strangely enough on this night, Carpenter might have helped the Cardinals more with his bat than his arm. He hit an RBI double in the second inning off Ryan Vogelsong for St. Louis' lone run.
In the fourth, Carpenter was char...