Lohse, who was 0-3 with four no-decisions in his last seven starts, returned to the scene of the crime, as it were. Suspended five games for throwing close to Cincinnati pitcher Edinson Volquez in August, Lohse held Cincinnati to three runs in 6 2/3 innings and received generally spotless relief. Lohse is 14-6 with two starts left.
Jason Motte relieved fellow rookie righty reliever Chris Perez with two runners on in the ninth and recorded his first major league save by getting Reds shortstop Jeff Keppinger on a flyout.
Offensively challenged to the point of scoring only 17 runs in the seven losses, the Cardinals got help from a familiar source. Albert Pujols, hitless in his first eight at-bats in the series, lined a three-run homer off Volquez in the third, and the Cardinals never were headed.
Lohse had not pitched since Sept. 9, coincidentally the last time the Cardinals had won, when they beat Chicago.
Manager Tony La Russa employed an unusual lineup against Volquez, using regular infielders, switch-hitting Aaron Miles and left-handed-hitting Adam Kennedy, in the outfield, plus left-handed-hitting catcher Mark Johnson.
"That's a sign of respect to Volquez," La Russa said. "He's really tough on right-handed hitters."
Kennedy made the catch on the only ball he had in right field, while Miles couldn't catch up to a double in left. "His arms were too short," La Russa cracked.
"These are good athletes. I played the outfield (as an infielder). If I could do it, anybody can do it."
CARDINALS 5, REDS 4: The Cardinals, who hadn't drawn a walk nor had a hit with men in scoring position in the first two games of a series at Cincinnati -- both losses -- coaxed six walks from RHP Edinson Volquez and three of them led to runs. They also had three hits with men in scoring position -- 1B Albert Pujols' three-run homer in the third, a run-scoring double by RF Adam Kennedy in the eighth and a run-scoring single by 2B Felipe Lopez in the fifth.
NOTES AND QUOTES:
--Adam Kennedy started in right field for the first time in his first big-league career after saying before the game that he asked to be traded because his playing time had been cut in the second half of the season. "That's the toughest part, not having a role," Kennedy said. "I realize it's not going to happen here."
General manager John Mozeliak said he had been made aware of the request and said there was a possibility he would pursue it in the offseason.
--The Cardinals raised their record to 5-13 in their last 18 games and evened their road record at 39-39 with three road games remaining.
--C Yadier Molina, still nursing a bruised left thigh, was out of the lineup again and isn't likely to play in Chicago on Friday either.
--RHP Adam Wainwright will seek his first career win at Chicago against RHP Carlos Zambrano, coming off a no-hitter.
--CF Skip Schumaker walked three times on Thursday. He had walked only three times in the past month.
BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Consecutive seasons at the start of his career that 1B Albert Pujols has hit at least .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBIs.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You don't expect a pitcher to do that. From now on, I will." -- C Yadier Molina, admitting he was surprised when Chicago LHP Ted Lilly plowed into him at the plate Sept. 10 and knocked Molina out of action for several days.