Lohse leads Cardinals into finale against Cubs

The St. Louis Cardinals are one step closer to the playoffs, and today they'll have 15-game winner Kyle Lohse on the mound for the rubber match of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.

Lohse can establish a career-high for victories this afternoon. The right- hander won 15 games in 2008 with the Cardinals. On Tuesday, he threw seven shutout innings in a win against Houston.

Lohse has a career record of 3-4 with a 5.22 ERA in 15 career starts versus the Cubs.

On the brink of another disheartening loss to the Cubs, the playoff-hopeful Cardinals flipped the script on Saturday. Carlos Beltran hit a game-tying solo homer in the ninth inning and Jon Jay delivered a two-out, RBI double in the 10th to give the Cardinals a 5-4 win.

In Friday's series opener, the Cubs earned a 5-4 extra-inning victory courtesy of Darwin Barney's two-run homer in the ninth and David DeJesus' RBI single in the 11th.

Saturday's win moved the Cardinals 2 1/2 games ahead of the hard-charging Milwaukee Brewers, who saw their six-game win streak come to an end with a 10-4 loss to the Washington Nationals earlier on Saturday.

As they did in the series opener, the Cardinals led early on Saturday, but the Cubs pieced together a three-run sixth inning, which was highlighted by DeJesus' leadoff homer, to take a 4-3 lead.

But Beltran's one-out blast off Carlos Marmol in the ninth cleared the stands inside the right-field foul pole and Mitchell Boggs (4-1) stranded a pair in the bottom half to send the game into extras.

There, Matt Carpenter and pinch-hitter Bryan Anderson worked back-to-back two- out walks before Jay ripped a double down the right-field line off Jaye Chapman (0-1) to push across the go-ahead run.

Jason Motte struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th to record his 39th save of the season and lock up St. Louis' fifth win in six games.

"That was as good as they get," said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny.

Justin Germano, who has lost six straight appearances, gets the start for the Cubs. Germano hasn't pitched more than five innings in any of his outings during the skid. He's 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA in four games (1 start) against the Cardinals.

The Cardinals are 9-7 versus the Cubs this season.