Kyle Lohse pitched into the eighth inning while Allen Craig homered twice and knocked in three runs as the St. Louis Cardinals downed the Colorado Rockies, 9-3, in the opener of a four-game series at Busch Stadium.
Lohse (8-2) scattered nine hits and two runs over 7 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out five.
"He just pitched. He did a little bit of everything, but most of it is just his efficiency, staying down and getting the ground balls when he needed to," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said about Lohse.
Matt Holliday added a home run and two RBI for the Cardinals, who won their second straight game on the heels of a three-game losing streak.
Rockies starter Josh Outman lasted just three innings, allowing two runs on two hits and five walks. Tyler Chatwood (1-1) surrendered four runs on five hits and two walks over 2 1/3 frames to take the loss.
"You can't pitch like that and expect to afford yourself an opportunity to beat a team like this," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said.
Tyler Colvin had a two-run home run and Wilin Rosario hit a solo shot for Colorado, which dropped its third straight.
St. Louis opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning without a hit when Jon Jay worked a one-out walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, stole third and came home on Carlos Beltran's sacrifice fly to right field.
Holliday made it a 2-0 game in the third inning with a solo blast over the left-field wall.
But the Rockies quickly tied the game in the fourth when Colvin lifted a two- run homer to right field. Michael Cuddyer singled prior to Colvin's ninth home run of the year.
Colorado stranded the bases loaded in the top of the fifth inning before the Cardinals regained the lead in the bottom of the frame when Jay walked and later crossed the plate on Beltran's fielder's choice grounder to second.
Craig followed by hammering a ball over the wall in straightaway center field to give St. Louis a 5-2 lead.
Rafael Furcal walked, advanced to third on a ground-rule double by Jay and came home on Holliday's sacrifice fly to right field in the sixth inning to extend the Cardinals' advantage.
Yadier Molina then scored on a throwing error by Marco Scutaro before David Freese crossed the plate on a groundout by Furcal in the seventh to give St. Louis an 8-2 cushion.
Colorado threatened to get back in the game in the eighth inning after loading the bases with one out, but Mitchell Boggs relieved Lohse and needed just two pitches to induce an inning-ending double play off the bat of Dexter Fowler.
The teams traded solo home runs by Craig in the eighth and Rosario in the ninth to account for the final margin.
Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez extended his hit streak to 10 games...Beltran has recorded an RBI in nine straight games...St. Louis has won nine of its last 11 games against Colorado and leads the all-time series, 83-81...The Cardinals went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base...Colorado hit 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.