ST. LOUIS — That disastrous nine-run ninth inning Monday against the Cincinnati Reds is safely in the St. Louis Cardinals' rearview mirror.
Since the Reds used the uprising to win 13-4 in the Cardinals' home opener, St. Louis has outscored its opponents 25-1 and recorded three consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1988. Cardinals pitchers have posted 32 straight shutout innings.
"We say it all the time: It begins with our starting pitching," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose staff has a 2.96 ERA in 103 1/3 innings. "You can't ask them to do much more than what they've been doing lately."
Adam Wainwright, who threw his fifth career shutout Saturday in an 8-0 win over Milwaukee, said bad innings like the one experienced Monday happen to all teams --good and bad.
"That was one crazy inning against the Reds," Wainwright said. "Those kind of innings are going to happen throughout a year every now and then. For the most part, our team has done a really nice job rebounding from a couple of tough games early on, and we'll just go from there."
Kozma gets break
Shortstop Pete Kozma missed his first start Saturday and was replaced by Daniel Descalso. Center fielder Jon Jay and catcher Yadier Molina are the only players to start every game.
"We've got a long run of games here, one," Matheny said of idling Kozma. "Two, we need to keep Dan sharp and I need to get him some exposure to shortstop, too, just in case we ever need to make any kind of movements in a game or when Pete does need a day."
Matheny was noncommital about whether Molina will start the series finale at 1:15 p.m. Sunday.
"We'll have to see," he said. "He feels good. He's one of the guys who we rely on how he feels. We'll keep an eye on how he's moving around. If he starts getting banged up back there, which does happen, we'll adjust then. But we just had a day off (Thursday). The days off have been pretty good timing so far. The only other side of that is Tony Cruz. As much as you would like to get Yadi a little rest, you need to get Tony some game experience, too."
Lohse looks back
Right-hander Kyle Lohse never wanted to leave St. Louis, but he had no other choice in the offseason when the Cardinals expressed zero interest in bringing him back.
It's clear that Lohse still is stung by the knowledge that the Cardinals didn't attempt to retain him, their premise being that they had enough starting pitching in the organization.
"It was pretty apparent back in July, August (that I wasn't returning)," Lohse said. "That's the business side of it, I guess, you could say. I just went about my business the best way I could while I was here. I think I said it once: I can't invite myself back."
Lohse signed with the Brewers on March 25 and enjoyed a creditable performance Friday when he lost to St. Louis 2-0. The Brewers were one of three teams interested in Lohse, who did not reveal the identity of the other two.
"I'll just leave that alone," said Lohse, who had been linked to the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels.
Lohse received a lengthy standing ovation when he batted in the third inning Friday, a warm tribute to a pitcher who amassed a 55-35 record in five seasons with the Cardinals.
"I wasn't expecting anything," Lohse said. "For them to do that made me feel good about what I had done. Maybe I left a good impression on everybody and they can appreciate that I showed up every day trying to do my job the best I could."
Lohse said competing against the Cardinals was difficult.
"I've done a good enough job learning how to separate things," Lohse said. "That's why I was able to compete against those guys. But I couldn't look at them most of the time. I definitely had to concentrate hard on just making one pitch at a time and doing the things I knew I could do."
Lohse stayed in his St. Louis home for the final time after the game Friday. The house has sold and will be closed on in about a week.
"My wife spent the last couple of days here doing the final packing and all that stuff," Lohse said. "It was really weird (Friday night) because we didn't have any TV. There was just quiet --just the house and the kids. I was on my iPad all night trying to distract myself."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.