Cardinals 4, Brewers 2
Kyle Lohse was the St. Louis Cardinals' ace last season. Maybe they know too much about him.
David Freese had an RBI in a four-run fourth inning to go with big plays at third base, and the Cardinals beat their former teammate for the third straight time with a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
''Baseball is a stupid game,'' said Lohse, who was 16-3 for the Cardinals last season. ''Baseball is weird, man. You make some good pitches and they get some good hits.''
Of course, they have a pretty good idea what's coming from Lohse, who was with St. Louis from 2008-12.
''Yeah, well, he was with the Cardinals, if you remember,'' said Pete Kozma, who contributed an RBI squeeze bunt to the rally. ''We kind of know what he has, kind of know his tendencies a little bit, what his ball does.''
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 win for the 14th time in 17 games. They took two of three from Milwaukee and lead the season series 8-2.
They're down two starting pitchers, with Jaime Garcia also on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain, but haven't let it slow them down.
''We've got to pick it up but with the talent we have, it doesn't demand much,'' Freese said. ''The guys we have in Double-A and Triple-A, they're waiting and they're hungry and they're expected to do well.''
Edward Mujica earned his 13th save in 13 chances after a third rookie, Trevor Rosenthal, gave up a hit in the eighth.
Lohse (1-5) left in free agency when the Cardinals opted to go with younger players such as Shelby Miller and save salary. 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. They didn't have much to show for 10 hits and wrapped up a 2-8 trip.
''There were a lot of story lines out of our road trip,'' said Ryan Braun, who grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the seventh. ''And none of them good.''
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. Yadier 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 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.
''I made a few mistakes in the sixth,'' Gast said. ''It's something to keep an eye on, but I don't think two starts is a big enough sample size to make any conclusions.''
Maness took over with one out and runners at the corners, and the Brewers got two-out RBIs from Betancourt and Bianchi to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Maness finished with a unique pitching line, allowing no runs on five hits in 1 2-3 innings. According to baseballreference.com, he's the ninth pitcher since 1916 to give up five hits and get five outs without allowing a run, and the first since Eric Gunderson of Seattle in 2000.
''I'm a ground-ball pitcher and that happens sometimes,'' Maness said. ''It's never fun but you've just got to focus and know you're another ground ball away from trying to get out of it.''
The Brewers opened the seventh with three straight hits and had two of their best hitters due up. Jean Segura, who entered with an NL-leading .361 average, popped up to first and Braun grounded into a double play on a full count on a play started by Freese.
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.
Freese cut his right thumb on Aoki's spikes at the end of the play and got a few stitches after the game, but didn't think it would keep him down.
''I've had plenty of stitches over my days, so we'll be all right,'' Freese said. ''It's a cut. Toughen up a few minutes here, a few minutes there.''
NOTES: Aoki is 16 for 30 (.533) his last seven games with four three-hit games and is batting .410 (16 for 39) against the Cardinals. ... Jay has 15 RBIs his last 15 games. ...The Cardinals are 14-7 on the road heading into an eight game trip. Miller (5-2, 1.40) 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 and is batting .170.