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08/23/09 5:30 PM ET

Cards bump up Carpenter's next start

St. Louis sending ace in Thursday's finale on regular rest

SAN DIEGO -- Chris Carpenter's tidy seven-inning start on Saturday not only benefited the Cardinals at PETCO Park. It's going to pay dividends again in four days.

Thanks to the relatively light workload Carpenter endured in that game, he'll pitch on regular rest on Thursday at home against Houston. The Cardinals had not officially listed a starter for the series finale against Houston, wanting to see whether Carpenter would require an extra day. After seven shutout innings, he will not.

"We got him out at the right time," manager Tony La Russa said on Sunday morning.

With Carpenter pitching on Thursday, John Smoltz will go on Friday against Washington at Busch Stadium, and the next open spot comes Saturday. That likely will go to Mitchell Boggs, who was recalled from Triple-A Memphis when Kyle Lohse was placed on the disabled list with a left groin strain. However, St. Louis has yet to announce formally who will step into Lohse's rotation spot while the right-hander is out.

The Cardinals have won Carpenter's past six starts and nine of his last 10. He leads the National League in ERA at 2.16.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.