For the third time this young
season, the Cardinals won the first two games of a series but then couldn't
close the door. After winning two of three from Cincinnati and Milwaukee,
losing the final game each time, the Cardinals had taken two straight from
dropping a 5-1 decision to the Astros Thursday.
Spoiled was a strong, seven-inning
performance by right-hander Kyle Lohse, who gave up just two runs, marking the
seventh time in nine games that a Cardinals starter had given up two runs or
"I felt like I was cruising along
there," said Lohse, who didn't give up a hit from the fourth through the
Lohse left trailing 2-1 but could
have helped himself if he'd had a better break from second on Ryan Ludwick's
two-out single in the third inning. Third-base coach Jose Oquendo had to stop
Lohse and couldn't start him up again when Astros center fielder Michael Bourn
dropped the ball as he prepared to make a throw home.
"Just a bad read, bad jump," Lohse
said. "I should have been able to probably score on that one. I know Bourn
doesn't have the best arm. I knew there were two (outs). ... It would have
helped out there."
Albert Pujols then fanned for the
final out of the inning.
ASTROS 5, CARDINALS
1: The Cardinals
had their usual trouble with Houston right-hander Bud Norris, who held them
to one unearned run in five innings and struck out nine. They haven't scored an
earned run against Norris in 18 innings over three starts covering two seasons.
Third baseman David Freese drove in the only Cardinals run with a fourth-inning
--3B David Freese hasn't had many
hits, but he has delivered five singles in six at-bats with runners in scoring
position, driving in five runs. On the other hand, LF Matt Holliday has one hit
in 11 at-bats with men in scoring position.
--C Bryan Anderson got his first
major league at-bat when he lined out on the first pitch he saw in the ninth
inning as a pinch hitter. Manager Tony La Russa has indicated he will give
playing time but did not suggest when, because regular C Yadier Molina hasn't
had to endure many long games or bad-weather games so far. The Cardinals are in
the midst of eight straight games, though, so there is a possibility Anderson will start next week in Arizona. Anderson was called up
from Class AAA Memphis when backup C Jason LaRue strained his right
--RHP Kyle Lohse is not much for
extra bases. His double in the third was his first extra-base hit since Sept. 3,
2008, when he doubled at Arizona. But he is 9-for-27 (.333) against
--RHP Chris Carpenter, who has
given up five home runs in 11 innings over two starts after permitting just
seven all last season, said he intends to step up his concentration on keeping
the ball down when he faces the New York Mets in St. Louis on Friday night.
Scouts have wondered about Carpenter's relatively low velocity early in the
season, but Carpenter says his often troublesome arm is
--The Cardinals' staff had gone 20
consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to start the home season
before the Astros scored twice in the third Thursday. RHP Kyle Lohse and RHP
Chris Carpenter are the only Cardinals to give up more than two runs in a start
with one each. Lohse pitched well Thursday, though, allowing just two runs in
BY THE NUMBERS: 12-0 -- RHP Chris
Carpenter's record against National League Central Division teams over the last
two seasons. He was taken off the hook Sunday night when he allowed seven runs
in five innings only to have his team rally to tie the game in the
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's always my
goal -- to outlast the other starter." -- RHP Adam Wainwright, after working
seven innings, one longer than Cincinnati RHP Johnny Cueto, in his first start
of the season.
--C Jason LaRue (strained right
hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April