The Cardinals used 6 1/3 strong innings from Kyle Lohse and five runs in the bottom of the sixth to beat the Rockies Friday and win their sixth game in eight tries.
Lohse, pitching on a week of rest after the rotation was shuffled around Monday's off day, seemed refreshed. He cruised except for one bad pitch to Carlos Gonzalez that was hammered for a solo home run in the fourth. He gave up four hits and three walks while striking out three.
The Cardinals first St. Louis run came on a nifty play by Lance Berkman in the second inning. He doubled and then scored on a single by David Freese with a wide slide during which he reached out and touched the plate as he slid by.
In the sixth Rafael Furcal led off with a single up the middle. Jon Jay hit a safety to short right field to make it first and second with no one out and Albert Pujols at the plate. Pujols, who leads the NL in double plays grounded into, ripped a ball at the second baseman who was unable to handle the hot shot to drive home Furcal. Matt Holliday chopped a ball over the third baseman's head and into short left field to drive home Jay and Pujols and make the score 4-1. Berkman was intentionally walked to bring Yadi Molina to the plate and the Cardinals catcher bunted to push the runners to second and third.
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I could see the desire to avoid a double play, but Molina's bunt gave the Rockies a chance to pitch around Skip Schumaker and work to the pitcher Lohse. But they attacked Schumaker who grounded into a fielders choice that punched out Berkman at the plate. With two outs, however, Lohse was able to help himself by taking an outside pitch to right field to drive in two more and make the score 6-1.
Jason Motte and Kyle McClellan combined to close out the game which gave Lohse his 10th win of the season. The Cardinals were unable, however, to gain any ground on Milwaukee which roughed up the Pirates at home.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Freese was 2-for-3 with a run scored and three driven in.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Berkman's sliding score in the second.
Lowlight: No complaints here.