Kyle Lohse's streak of quality starts was snapped at 10 Tuesday night, but his offense bailed him out in a 11-6 win over Colorado that was Lohse's 11th against two losses.
Lohse was sailing with a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth when he allowed a two-out single to former Cardinals reliever Adam Ottavino, who was batting for himself. Center fielder Eric Young also singled -- both those balls barely eluded infielders -- and then rookie shortstop Josh Rutledge launched a three-run homer.
But Colorado manager Jim Tracy perhaps stayed with Ottavino an inning too long -- it was his third inning of relief -- and left fielder Matt Holliday blasted a two-run homer in the seventh to go with an earlier two-run double. Then third baseman David Freese extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a 464-foot homer to center, and Lohse was taken out of the game.
The bullpen allowed just one run over the final three innings, and the Cardinals won for the eighth time in their last 11 games as they desperately attempt to crawl into playoff contention.
"We've got to get going. We've got to start playing well," said Holliday. "If we want to have a great season and something to be proud of, we've got to get going."
The offense, which hit just .241 in July with men in scoring position, was 5 for 10 in such spots on Tuesday, including two run-scoring hits with two outs.
"Those are things we've been missing a lot of," said manager Mike Matheny. The manager said hitting coaches Mark McGwire and John Mabry had encouraged the Cardinals' hitters to try to hit the ball up the middle "and trust your hands."
"It looks like that's what the guys did today," said Matheny.
Six Cardinals had at least two hits, and first baseman Allen Craig had three to go with two walks.
Edward Mujica was acquired from Miami for Class AAA 3B Zack Cox, the Cardinals' top draft pick from 2010. Mujica figures to be the right-handed veteran the club needs to pitch the seventh inning out of the bullpen. Mujica features a split-fingered pitch that enables him to get both left-handed and right-handed hitters out. RHP Trevor Rosenthal, who was called up a couple of weeks ago from Class AA, will be sent to Class AAA Memphis.
Lance Berkman did not play against a left-handed pitcher on Tuesday. The
Colorado Rockies will throw two more left-handed starters in the series, but manager Mike Matheny said he would find time for Berkman. "We've mapped it out somewhat," Matheny said. "We need to get him going. Right-handed, he looks good."
Rafael Furcal, bothered by lower back discomfort, did not start for a third straight game. He still has soreness in his lower back and hip area and said he'd rather miss "three or four games now than a whole month."
David Freese continued his torrid hitting. His 464-foot homer to dead center extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He has gone 20 for 37 (.541) during the streak.
Carlos Beltran has homered in two straight games. Beltran got a couple of days of rest last week and appears fresher.
Jason Motte, who hadn't pitched since Friday, got an inning of work in the ninth, but it took him 27 pitches to get through it as Colorado hitters fouled off a number of pitches. Motte allowed a meaningless run.
Kyle Lohse, who has pitched at least six innings in every start since late May (11 starts), was lifted after six. He was forced to throw a few more pitches than he wanted because of at least three defensive plays that didn't get made. "It was one of those nights where balls were falling in. It was tough," said Lohse. "We had chances to get out of some innings, but it just didn't work out." The Cardinals still are seven games off the pace of the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Central, and Lohse said, "We've got to start tightening things up and get the job done."
Mitchell Boggs knocked off his 20th straight scoreless outing. His spotless eighth inning on Tuesday ran his scoreless-innings streak to 17 1/3.
Yadier Molina has thrown out the last three runners who have tried to steal on him. All resulted in double plays coming after strikeouts.
BY THE NUMBERS:.085
Daniel Descalso's average (4 for 47) with men in scoring position. But Descalso at least advanced two runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning. Both runners scored.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Look at what we've got. I don't think it's a club where anybody was expecting wholesale changes."
Mike Matheny, on the Cardinals' general inactivity at the July 31 trade deadline.