“Early in the season, to pitch a complete game (against) that lineup … he was masterful,” said manager Tony La Russa, enjoying his comparison to the golf tournament going on at the time.
“Since he’s been in our uniform, he’s done that quite a bit.”
Lohse was a 63-74 pitcher with Minnesota, Cincinnati and Philadelphia before the Cardinals signed him to a one-year deal in the spring of 2008. Since then, he has gone 17-6, including 10-2 at Busch Stadium.
One of the differences is that Lohse is a smarter pitcher than before. “My pitch selection is better,” he said. “I’m not concerned about how hard I’m throwing.”
La Russa also cited the fact that Lohse may have been tipping his pitches when he worked in the American League for the Twins.
Unusually, Lohse had 12 outfield putouts among his 27 outs when normally he is more of a ground-ball pitcher. But the Astros hit only three balls hard until the ninth inning when Lohse allowed two hits before retiring first baseman Lance Berkman, who represented the tying run, on a fly to center.
“With that lineup,” said Lohse, “no matter how good you feel, any mistake you make, they make you pay.”
Lohse just didn’t make any mistakes. “He pitched ahead in the count. He pitched behind (in the count) and he still made good pitches,” La Russa said.
Cardinals 3, Astros 0: RHP Kyle Lohse pitched the Cardinals’ first complete-game shutout since last June 11 when Braden Looper beat the Reds 10-0 on a three-hitter at Cincinnati. Lohse allowed one hit until the ninth inning and SS Khalil Greene, who had had just four hits in the first six games, had three, driving in a run and scoring another. Lohse has beaten the Astros four times in a row over the last two seasons.
• General manager John Mozeliak plans to meet in Arizona this week with 3B Troy Glaus, who is rehabbing from January shoulder surgery, in reference to a New York Times report that Glaus took steroids in 2003 to assist his recovery from another shoulder injury. “Anytime something like this surfaces in the context of him currently going through rehab, it’s concerning,” said Mozeliak. “We’re still hopeful it’s something he can work through and at the end, it’s unrelated.”
• The Cardinals’ three-game sweep of the Astros was their first since July 15-17 of 2005. The teams more often than not have been jousting for the division title in the last decade, but the Cardinals have the all-time edge at 342-301.
By The Numbers: 24—Multi-homer games for 1B Albert Pujols after he drove in seven runs with a grand slam and a three-run homer against Houston on April 11.
Quote To Note: “I am just blown away by that guy. I think he’s the best hitter of all time.”—RHP Adam Wainwright, on teammate Albert Pujols.