Cardinals 5, Nationals 0
Kyle Lohse is carrying his share of the load again. More than
his share, actually.
The right-hander threw a career-best two-hitter for his fourth
straight impressive outing on the comeback trail in the St. Louis
Cardinals’ 5-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on
Lohse is 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA, distancing himself from two
”I had some tough times beating myself up, trying to figure out
what was going on,” Lohse said. ”It feels good to be back in that
groove and being successful again.”
Matt Holliday kept his average near .500 with a two-run homer in
the first inning and single and Albert Pujols added a two-run homer
off Collin Balester in a three-run eighth. St. Louis took two of
three from the Nationals and has won eight of 11 overall.
The Nationals are 4-14 at 6-year-old Busch Stadium. The combined
Expos/Nationals franchise has won only two of 16 series in St.
Louis dating to 1997.
Lohse struck out six and walked two in his eighth career
complete game and sixth shutout, both accomplished last on April
12, 2009, with a three-hitter against Houston.
Lohse has worked at least seven innings in all four starts,
moving past a pair of seasons when he was hindered by a forearm
injury that required surgery last May, going a combined 10-18 with
a 5.54 ERA in 2009-10.
”We’ve seen Kyle like this, this is the guy that won 15 games
for us,” manager Tony La Russa said. ”He’s been going out there
with less than his best and taking his beating at times, so I think
he just enjoys having a fair chance.”
Tom Gorzelanny (0-2) kept going the Nationals’ run of
five-inning starts in every game, but had to work for it. The
left-hander walked a batter in each of his first four innings and
needed 108 pitches to get through five but was hurt only by
Holliday’s second homer with two outs in the first.
”He wasn’t sharp, but he really gutted it out and kept us in
the game,” manager Jim Riggleman said. ”He hurt his own cause by
throwing a lot of pitches but that’s the way it is some days.
”You’re not on top of your game, but you still got to keep your
team in the game, and he did that.”
Pujols walked with two outs ahead of Holliday’s drive into the
Washington bullpen in left on an 0-2 pitch. Holliday is batting
.455, although he doesn’t yet have enough plate appearances to
qualify for the league leaders after missing seven games in early
April following an appendectomy.
Holliday is 7 for 12 with runners in scoring position, a huge
change from the start to his first season in St. Louis. Holliday
batted .312 with 28 homers and 103 RBIs last year – in mid-June, he
was sixth on the team with only 25 RBIs and batting below .200 with
runners in scoring position.
Holliday leads the major leagues with a .532 on-base percentage
since returning from the operation.
”He’s in the prime of his career,” La Russa said. ”The ball
is just jumping off his bat all over the place.”
Lohse retired 11 in a row to start the game before running into
his only trouble when Jayson Werth singled and Adam LaRoche walked
with two outs in the fourth, giving the Nationals their lone runner
in scoring position. Mike Morse singled leading off the fifth
before being erased in a double play and Lohse set down 10 of the
Pujols hit his sixth homer in the eighth after Colby Rasmus drew
a leadoff walk, and David Freese added an RBI double.
The Nationals totaled three runs on seven hits the last two
games after scoring 25 runs during a four-game winning streak.
”Right now we’re in a period where they pitched and we didn’t
hit,” Riggleman said. ”It was only a few days before that we were
putting double figures in hits out there.”
NOTES: Pujols grounded into his eighth double play in the third,
most in the National League. He entered tied for first in the
majors. … Gorzelanny has surrendered four homers in 15 2-3
innings. … The Cardinals have used 17 different lineups in 19
games. … The Nationals optioned C Jesus Flores, their third
catcher, to Triple-A Syracuse. During a 10-game stint, Flores
appeared in two games and was 1 for 2. … Holliday and Pujols
homered in the same game for the first time this season.