Lohse’s struggles continue in loss

Kyle Lohse had another frustrating experience against his ex-teammates. The rest of the Milwaukee Brewers wanted to forget a 2-8 trip full of wasted opportunities and lessons learned.

”Certainly, it seems like we’ve been on the road for a month,” said Ryan Braun, who grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning of a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. ”It wasn’t very much fun. We didn’t do many things well.”

Braun said there’s a good reason why the Cardinals’ 28 victories lead the National League, and why the Brewers need to step it up.

”It’s apparent why they’re winning — good pitching, good hitting and a good bullpen,” Braun said. ”They’re doing all the things well that we’re not doing well.”

David Freese had an RBI in a four-run fourth inning to go with big plays at third base, and the Cardinals beat Lohse for the third straight time. And maybe they got under his skin a bit, too.

Lohse (1-5) called baseball a ”stupid game” and bemoaned a ”10-hopper up the middle” by Yadier Molina that drove in the Cardinals’ first run. He exchanged words with St. Louis third base coach Jose Oquendo during the fourth, too.

”They know what I had to say,” Lohse said. Whether the matter was resolved after a chat with Molina, Lohse said, ”We’ll see.”

The Brewers had 10 hits but missed chances for more in the sixth and seventh with Braun, Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura all coming up empty.

”We had guys in the right place and people in the right situations,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ”It’s the same thing — they come through with big hits and we didn’t.

”It’s talent, too. That’s the biggest thing.”

John Gast (2-0) won his second straight start in place of the injured Jake Westbrook and fellow rookie Seth Maness escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the seventh to help the Cardinals keep rolling with their 14th win this month. They took two of three from Milwaukee and lead the season series 8-2.

Edward Mujica earned his 13th save in 13 chances after a third rookie, Trevor Rosenthal, gave up a hit in the eighth.

Lohse was 16-3 for the Cardinals last season and left in free agency when they opted to go with younger players. He gave up four runs in six innings, and is 0-4 overall in his last five starts.

Yuniesky Betancourt and Jeff Bianchi each drove in a run and Norichika Aoki had three hits and a walk for the Brewers, who have lost 14 of 17.

After getting one hit the first time through the order, the Cardinals jumped on Lohse for six hits in the first seven at-bats in the fourth. Molina singled for the lead and Jon Jay followed with an RBI double, both coming on first pitches.

Freese’s opposite-field single through a drawn-in infield was his fifth RBI of the series after totaling four prior to the weekend, and Pete Kozma capped the rally with a perfectly placed squeeze bunt that Lohse couldn’t touch with a diving barehanded attempt.

Gast has opened with five scoreless innings in each of his first two career starts, and has allowed a total of six runs in the sixth. Maness took over with one out and runners at the corners, and struck out Gomez before the Brewers got two-out RBIs from Betancourt and Bianchi to cut the deficit to 4-2.

Maness finished with an interesting pitching line, allowing no runs on five hits in 1 2-3 innings.

The Brewers opened the seventh with three straight hits and had two of their best hitters due up. Segura, who entered with an NL-leading .361 average, popped up to first and Braun grounded into a double play started by Freese on a full count.

Aoki was barely run down at the plate by Freese to foil a double-steal attempt and end the first. The Brewers attempted to manufacture a run with Betancourt down 1-2 in the count while mired in a 3 for 40 slump. Freese faked a few tosses to the plate before flicking his glove to catch Aoki beginning his dive.

NOTES: The Cardinals are 14-7 on the road heading into an eight game trip. Rookie Shelby Miller (5-2, 1.40) and is tied for the major league lead in ERA heading into Monday’s start against Jason Marquis (5-2, 3.49) at San Diego. … The Brewers begin an eight-game home stand Monday with Yovani Gallardo (3-3, 4.50) facing the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (4-2, 1.40). … Professional wrestler Chris Jericho, in town for an ”extreme rules” event Sunday night, threw the ceremonial first pitch. … Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks struck out twice for a four-game total of eight.