One of the St. Louis Cardinals' early-season aces - veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse - will try to snap the team's prolonged losing streak today when it hosts the Chicago Cubs in the back end of a two-game series at Busch Stadium.
The Cubs won the series opener and gave St. Louis its fourth straight loss on Monday, when Bryan LaHair continued his early-season surge, collecting three hits, including a two-run homer, in a 6-4 triumph.
Alfonso Soriano drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and Tony Campana scored twice as Chicago won its second straight.
Shawn Camp (2-1) tossed two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit in relief of Ryan Dempster to get the victory, and Rafael Dolis struck out two in a perfect ninth for his fourth save of the year.
Yadier Molina doubled in two runs for St. Louis, while Mitchell Boggs (0-1) allowed two runs - one earned - on two hits and a walk in two relief frames.
"We've got a lot of baseball to play ahead of us," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We've seen the kind of baseball we can play, and we've seen the kind that we can play on the poor end also if we're not careful."
Lohse, a 33-year-old Californian with 305 career major-league starts, won his first four decisions of 2012 while posting a stingy 1.62 earned run average across 33 1/3 innings.
He's split his two most recent outings - losing at Houston and winning at Arizona - while allowing six runs on 14 hits in 10 innings, swelling the overall ERA to its current 2.08 mark.
Lohse was a 14-game winner in 2011 with a 3.39 ERA in 188 1/3 innings.
He is 2-4 against the Cubs in 13 career starts, allowing 84 hits and 41 earned runs in 67 1/3 innings.
He's opposed by 29-year-old Mississippi State product Paul Maholm, who's in his first season with Chicago after parts of seven big-league seasons with Pittsburgh.
Maholm dropped his first two outings with the Cubs while being shelled for 12 runs in eight innings - including a 10-3 loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis on April 15 - but has since settled down to win four consecutive starts and drop his ERA by more than nine runs per game.
Against St. Louis, he lasted just four innings while giving up six hits and six runs. In four subsequent outings, he's allowed just three runs on 15 hits in 25 1/3 innings.
In 16 career starts against the Cardinals, Maholm is 4-7 and has allowed 44 earned runs in 96 innings.