Around the horn: Aug. 29

? Might as well give Chris Carpenter the NL Cy Young Award right now. The Cardinals right-hander became the first 19-game winner in the Majors on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Cardinals whittled their magic number in the NL Central to 17 with the 6-1 thumping of the Marlins.

Carpenter struck out five and walked one in 7 2/3, lowering his ERA to 2.29. He has won 11 straight, and has not lost since June 8 to the Red Sox. He’s 7-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his last 10 starts. His 183 strikeouts are second to Jake Peavy in the NL, and he trails only Roger Clemens in ERA.

Carpenter is one of the biggest reasons the Cardinals — who have been beset by injuries — are rolling this year. Who knows what would have happened in the World Series last year if Carpenter wasn’t sidelined. The big righty will get some NL MVP votes, but teammate Albert Pujols should get that award this year.

Jason Giambi

? Jason Giambi did it again in Monday’s 7-4 win over the Mariners, smashing two homers for the second straight day. His second blast, a three-run shot in the sixth, completed another comeback for the Yankees, who have now won eight games this season in which they trailed by four or more runs. Giambi definitely deserves the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Who knew he was going to provide this much offense?

? For the second straight start, Mike Mussina got whacked. He allowed four runs in three-plus innings. He has now allowed 12 runs in his last 7 1/3 innings. August has been cruel to the Moose: He’s 2-2 this month with a 6.68 ERA.

? The Yankees’ lead over the idle Angels in the Wild Card race now stands at one game. New York still trails Boston by 1 1/2 games in the American League East.

? Ex-Mariner Alex Rodriguez, who was booed throughout the night at Safeco Field, hit his 39th homer of the season. It was a laser shot to left, over Raul Ibanez’s head. A-Rod leads the AL in homers, is third in RBIs (104), and now he’s third in batting (.320). He trails league leader Johnny Damon by just .005 in the race. Damon is struggling, batting .265 in August after hitting .339 in July.

? There’s only one guy that can challenge A-Rod for the AL MVP Award and it’s David Ortiz. Big Papi homered twice in Boston’s 10-6 shellacking of the Rays. His 117 RBIs lead the Majors, and he is second in the AL with 35 bombs. A-Rod, though, has a huge edge over Papi in batting average — Ortiz is hitting .297.

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