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Cardinals vs. Astros: Chris Carpenter and St. Louis eyeing 3-game sweep

Seeking to pad their playoff resume with just one week left in the season, the St. Louis Cardinals will be thinking of a sweep on Wednesday evening against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The Cardinals outscored Houston, 10-1, over the series' first two games, and used a brilliant performance from lefty Jaime Garcia to keep the Astros from plating a single run on Tuesday. Hoping to get one of their power arms going at the ideal time, recently activated starter Chris Carpenter (0-0, 3.60 ERA) will take the mound on Wednesday for his second start of the season after missing time due to thoracic outlet syndrome.

Carpenter was limited to just 77 pitches through five innings of two-run ball in his debut last Friday, but it's likely that the 37-year-old ace will be afforded a longer leash this time around. Carpenter and his St. Louis teammates will try to get the better of Houston righty Bud Norris (5-13, 5.05 ERA) in the finale, a pitcher who has given up 12 earned runs and 10 walks over just 23 and 1/3 innings against the Cardinals this season.