The chances of the St. Louis Cardinals pulling off a three- game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks are in their favor with Kyle Lohse on the mound.
Lohse gets the ball tonight in the finale of a three-game series at Busch Stadium and is 6-0 with a 2.39 earned run average in his last 10 starts. St. Louis is 7-3 in that time, but couldn't give Lohse the win in a 3-1 defeat at Philadelphia last Friday. Lohse did not record a decision even though he held the Phillies to a run in seven innings.
The right-hander is 12-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 24 starts this season and 6-1 in 11 assignments at Busch Stadium. Lohse defeated the Diamondbacks on May 9 in the desert with five innings of one-run ball in a 7-2 decision, and is 3-2 with a 5.03 ERA in nine career starts against Arizona.
St. Louis posted an 8-2 win in Tuesday's series opener, before record a 5-2 triumph last night behind home runs from Allen Craig and David Freese. Adam Wainwright started for the Cardinals and gave up two runs in six innings for the win.
"He's pitching to all the corners, he's keeping you off-balance and he's doing all of those things that a good pitcher does. He was on his game tonight," D- backs third baseman Chris Johnson said about Wainwright.
Wainwright's battery mate Yadier Molina sat out the game with mid-back tightness and is expected to miss at least one more game.
"Hopefully today with treatment it can better," Molina said Wednesday. "Tomorrow, we'll see where we are."
The Cardinals will also host Pittsburgh and Houston on their current homestand and have won eight of the last 12 games. The defending champions also pulled into a tie with the Pirates for the final Wild Card spot in the National League.
Arizona has dropped four of five games and eight of its last 11, and sits six games back in the Wild Card and 6 ��� games off the lead in the NL West.
Joe Saunders allowed all five runs, including both homers to Craig and Freese, in six innings to absorb the loss on Wednesday, while Paul Goldschmidt homered and Miguel Montero had a team-best two hits.
"The pitch to Freese I pulled across the plate and he put a good swing on the ball, and then the pitch to Craig I just tried to go away and left it down, down middle and he put a good swing on it," Saunders told the club's website. "I missed my location and they put good swings on the ball."
Trevor Cahill looks for better results when he takes the mound Thursday and owns a 9-10 record in 23 starts to go along with a 3.85 earned run average. Cahill last toed the rubber in a 9-1 loss to Washington last Friday and was tagged for four runs in six innings.
Cahill, a right-hander, struck out seven and yielded two runs in six innings in his only other start against the Cardinals in a 3-2 road win on June 20, 2010 with Oakland. He did not factor in the outcome of that one.
Arizona has lost all five meetings with St. Louis this season and seven in a row overall.