Kyle Lohse joined the party Saturday, pitching on par with his red hot rotation mates with a dominating start against the Reds.
Unfortunately, the offense was late to arrive, and Lohse's seven innings pitched with five hits and no walks allowed was wasted. Lohse allowed one earned run while striking out an uncharacteristically high eight batters. He hadn't whiffed that many in a game since 2007.
The Cardinals scored two in the bottom of the seventh, when Lohse was still the pitcher of record, to take a 3-1 lead. Albert Pujols doubled in Skip Schumaker then Matt Holliday got a hit to drive in Pujols. But Blake Hawksworth walked the first batter he faced in relief of Lohse in the top of the eighth then, after whiffing the next batter, gave up a single to Brandon Phillips. Joey Votto singled off of Dennys Reyes to cut the Cardinals lead to 3-2 and then Scott Rolen hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at three.
Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker singles home the winning run in the bottom of the eighth Saturday against the Reds. AP photo.
The birds came back in their half of the eight when Jason LaRue hit a one-out double and was replaced by Jaime Garcia who pinch ran. Joe Mather grounded out to short. But then the wheels fell of Cincinnati's relief corps. Brendan Ryan walked. Skip Schmaker singled to make it 4-3 in favor of St. Louis. Ryan Ludwick walked to load the bases. Albert Pujols walked to drive in a run. Matt Holliday walked to drive in another and the Redbirds were up 6-3.
Ryan Franklin, who came into the game as part of a double switch and then had to bat, puzzlingly swung at the first three pitches he saw after Reds hurlers walked two of the three best hitters in baseball in front of him. But he pitched an uneventful ninth to nail the win.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Lohse
Cardinals Play of the Game: Schumaker's eighth inning single to give the Cardinals the lead for good.
Lowlight: The bullpen's failure to hold the 3-1 lead the offense gave it in the bottom of the seventh.