Game preview: Cards face former mate Lohse in series finale

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals routinely pound on the Milwaukee Brewers’ pitchers, and Yadier Molina is one of the main culprits.

Kyle Lohse now has first-hand experience.

Molina looks to give his former teammate another rough time on the mound and help the NL-leading Cardinals take this three-game series with the Brewers on Sunday.

St. Louis (27-15) has won 11 of the past 15 meetings with Milwaukee, hitting .327 with runners in scoring position and .297 overall with 14 homers while averaging 6.3 runs in those victories.

Molina has been a big part of that success, hitting .378 over his past 20 meetings. He has been even better at home over that stretch, compiling a .415 average with 10 RBIs in 13 meetings.

The four-time All-Star catcher is 3 for 8 in this series as the Cardinals continue to get to Milwaukee’s pitchers.

They had 13 hits in Friday’s 7-6 victory, and reached double digits for a sixth straight meeting Saturday. However, their 10 hits weren’t enough in a 6-4, 10-inning loss, which snapped their five-game winning streak over Milwaukee.

St. Louis has a chance to get back on track against Lohse (1-4, 3.49 ERA), who has lost both of his starts against his former team this year, giving up six runs in 12 innings.

The latest effort May 3 ended after five innings as the right-hander gave up four runs and 11 hits in a 6-1 loss. That’s part of a four-start stretch in which Lohse has gone 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA since getting his only win with the Brewers on April 22.

Lohse led the Cardinals with 30 wins and a 3.11 ERA over the past two regular seasons, bus he has struggled greatly versus Molina and Matt Holliday. Molina is 4 for 6 with two doubles and a solo homer off him, while Holliday is 3 for 6 with a shot of his own.

The Cardinals are scheduled to give John Gast (1-0, 6.00) another turn in the rotation in place of Jake Westbrook, who is on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.

Gast, a 2010 sixth-round pick out of Florida State, impressed early in his major league debut Tuesday, throwing five scoreless innings before giving up four runs and leaving after the sixth inning of a 10-4 win over the New York Mets.

The left-hander is the latest rookie to get the ball for St. Louis. Shelby Miller is 5-2 and is tied with 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw of Los Angeles for the lowest ERA in baseball at 1.40. Miller is scheduled to start Monday’s three-game series opener in San Diego.

“It’s incredible,” infielder Matt Carpenter told the team’s official website. “The talent we have is a testament to our minor league system and the product that they continue to develop. … They seem like they can always find the guys who can come up here and compete and give us a chance to win games.”

Carpenter has been impressive in his own right, batting .367 over the past 15 games while going 4 for 9 with a double and two RBIs in this series.

The Brewers are also getting some strong offensive contributions from Norichika Aoki and Ryan Braun.

Aoki is hitting .443 with 11 multihit games in his last 15, including five of six versus the Cardinals. He’s 11 for 23 in those meetings with the NL Central rival.

Braun is 11 for 24 over that same stretch versus St. Louis, which is part of an 18-game stretch during which he’s batting .394.