|St. Louis (5-2) «||0||0||0||2||1||0||0||0||x||3||6||0|
Lohse threw a career-best three-hitter, retiring 24 in a row after giving up a single on his first pitch, and St. Louis beat the Houston Astros 3-0 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, living up to the four-year, $41 million deal he got last September.
"I try not to think about it like that," Lohse said. "I'm privileged that they thought that much of me to give me a four-year deal. That's part of the job, to go out there and be professional about it, get your work done even when no one's looking."
Lohse is 17-6 since coming to St. Louis as a free agent last year. The latest victory evened his career mark at 80-80.
"He was masterful," manager Tony La Russa said. "Kyle signs a deal, and he wants to show he's going to be the same guy."
Khalil Greene had three hits and an RBI, and Ryan Ludwick extended his hitting streak to 16 games with an RBI single for the Cardinals, who went 5-2 on their opening homestand and limited the opposition to two or fewer runs in three of the last four. St. Louis outscored the Astros 19-5 in the three games.
"We hit probably two or three balls hard all day, and that won't get it," manager Cecil Cooper said. "We know we're a better offensive team than we have shown."
Kaz Matsui lined an opposite-field single to start the game for the Astros, who didn't get another baserunner until Michael Bourn singled leading off the ninth. Hunter Pence added a two-out hit and Lohse fell behind 3-0 against Lance Berkman before getting him to fly out.
Houston has lost four in a row and has scuffled to a 1-5 start while totaling 16 runs. The Astros were shut out for the first time since Sept. 14, 2008, when they were no-hit by Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano in a game moved from Houston to Milwaukee due to Hurricane Ike.
"It's just annoying," Geoff Blum said after going 0-for-3. "We shouldn't be losing games 3-0 with our lineup."
Lohse (2-0) threw his fifth career shutout, and first since May 28, 2007, against Pittsburgh while he was with the Reds. The complete game was his seventh, and first since July 6, 2007, against Arizona. His previous low-hit game had been a pair of four-hitters, the last also against the Diamondbacks.
Lohse, who struck out four and walked none, helped himself with an outstanding fielding play to rob Miguel Tejada of a bunt single leading off the fifth. Second baseman Skip Schumaker nearly topped that the next at-bat, making a leaping grab of Blum's liner.
Over the last two years, Lohse is 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA against the Astros in five starts. The foursome of Blum, Carlos Lee, Pence and Ivan Rodriguez was 1-for-12 after entering the game combining for a .378 average, most of it built before Lohse came to St. Louis.
"Yeah, I know their numbers," Lohse said. "I feel like I've got a better approach now and they're seeing some different stuff now."
Rodriguez had a 1.11 ERA against the Cardinals last year in four starts, although he was 1-2. He's 2-7 with a 4.12 ERA for his career against St. Louis.
|Tony La Russa definitely enjoys Kyle Lohse's standout performance against the Astros. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Kazuo Matsui, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.240|
|Hunter Pence, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.348|
|Lance Berkman, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.200|
|Carlos Lee, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.227|
|Miguel Tejada, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.227|
|Geoff Blum, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.353|
|Ivan Rodriguez, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.227|
|Michael Bourn, CF||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.318|
|Wandy Rodriguez, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Tim Byrdak, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jose Valverde, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Darin Erstad, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|a-struck out for Valverde in the 9th|
|DP - Matsui-Tejada-Berkman|
|Wandy Rodriguez (L,0-1)||6||5||3||3||3||4||0||3.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 91-58, Tim Byrdak 11-8, Jose Valverde 13-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 10-3, Tim Byrdak 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 25, Tim Byrdak 3, Jose Valverde 4|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Skip Schumaker, 2B-LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.333|
|Khalil Greene, SS||4||1||3||1||0||0||0||.280|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||3||1||0||0||1||0||2||.375|
|Ryan Ludwick, RF||3||0||1||1||1||1||1||.389|
|Chris Duncan, LF||3||0||1||1||0||1||1||.300|
|Brendan Ryan, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|a- Joe Thurston, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.500|
|Yadier Molina, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.250|
|David Freese, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||2||3||.214|
|Brian Barden, 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.167|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||.222|
|Kyle Lohse, P||2||0||1||0||0||1||0||.200|
|a-struck out for Ryan in the 8th|
|2B - Chris Duncan (2, Rodriguez)|
|SH - Kyle Lohse (1)|
|RBI - Khalil Greene (4), Ryan Ludwick (5), Chris Duncan (4)|
|2-OUT RBI - Khalil Greene (3)|
|SB - Khalil Greene (1, 2nd base off Valverde/Rodriguez)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Kyle Lohse (W,2-0)||9||3||0||0||0||4||0||1.13|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 112-71|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 8-15|
|Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 30|
|Attendance - 36310|
|Game Time - 2:10|
|Temperature - 53|
|Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - Phil Cuzzi, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - Jerry Crawford|