ST. LOUIS -- Jason Isringhausen settled nicely into his old position in the first chance he had back as the closer.
Ryan Ludwick homered twice and had four hits, and Joe Mather added a three-run shot to set Isringhausen up for his first save since May 5, as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 on Friday night.
"It's not over yet. I've got to keep going out there and getting the job done or I won't be in that role," said Isringhausen, who got the final four outs for his 12th save. "It could be on borrowed time, so I've got to go out and give it my all every time."
The Cardinals tried Ryan Franklin as the closer but he blew 14 of his 20 save opportunities. Kyle McClellan closed out just one of the four games in which he was used as a closer. As a team, the Cardinals have converted 30 of their 55 save opportunities.
Isringhausen had blown eight save opportunities before losing the closer job in May. He later spent time on the disabled list because of a cut on his hand. On Friday, he struck out two and walked two, throwing 29 pitches.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said the way Isringhausen threw was more impressive considering the circumstances under which he pitched.
"You take the quality of the opponent, the importance of the game and at home, where the fans are waiting to see how it goes before they give him their tender loving care. I thought it was huge," he said.
Kyle Lohse (13-3) cruised through five innings to help end his former team's five-game winning streak as St. Louis moved within four games of the Cubs in the NL Central.
The Cardinals scored four runs in the third off starter Cole Hamels (9-7), who gave up five runs -- four earned -- and eight hits in six innings.
"Now that I think about it," Hamels said. "The big innings that I have given up (this year), the changeup has been up. I haven't really been able to locate it down in the zone."
Ludwick homered with two outs in the fifth off Hamels and led off the eighth with a drive off Ryan Madson. It was his third multihomer game of the season and fifth of his career.
Lohse gave up his first hit with two outs in the fifth to Hamels. But he failed to finish the sixth.
He gave up three runs on three doubles and a home run before being pulled with one out, marking the eighth time he failed to get through the sixth. Lohse has gone as many as seven innings only eight times in 24 starts this season.
Shane Victorino and Chase Utley started the sixth with consecutive doubles and Pat Burrell hit his 27th homer with one out to make it 5-3. Geoff Jenkins followed with a double before Russ Springer relieved Lohse and got the final two outs of the inning.
"It was a weird one," Lohse said. "I felt good early. Maybe threw too many pitches, maybe wore myself out and it just boiled down to leaving a couple pitches up."
- Ludwick also had two singles, giving him his fourth four-hit game this year.
- OF Rick Ankiel has not started six consecutive games because of an abdominal strain and the Cardinals said he is unlikely to start during their three-game series against the Phillies.
- So Taguchi, who played six seasons with the Cardinals before signing as a free agent with the Phillies during the offseason, received a prolonged standing ovation when he appeared as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
- The Cardinals are 52-4 when leading after eight innings.