Cardinals edge Phillies, keep pressure on Braves

Kyle Lohse outdueled Roy Halladay, and 3 victory over Philadelphia in the game series.

Despite the loss, the Phillies locked up home-field advantage throughout the entire playoffs Monday night because Milwaukee lost to the Chicago Cubs.

The victory was more pressing for the Cardinals, who are now 2 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the wild card standings. The Braves lost, 6-5, at Florida Monday night thanks to Omar Infante's two-run homer off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning.

Lohse (14-8) worked 7 1/3 innings, scattering seven hits and one unearned run with five strikeouts, while Halladay (18-6) gave up four runs on six hits in eight full frames.

"Lohse was outstanding," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "You can't give him enough credit."

Nick Punto and Albert Pujols knocked in a run each for the Cardinals, who took three of four in the set. Rafael Furcal added three hits and scored once for the playoff-hopeful Cardinals.

Jimmy Rollins hit a late RBI triple and Shane Victorino knocked in a run for the Phillies, who suffered their second straight loss after clinching their fifth straight NL East crown on Saturday.

Nonetheless, it was a close one for the visitors. Jason Motte served up a run- scoring triple to Rollins and an RBI grounder from Victorino -- both with two outs in the ninth -- which brought the home squad within 4-3.

Arthur Rhodes allowed a single to Chase Utley, but Octavio Dotel retired Hunter Pence on a grounder to third to end the game and earn his second save.

St. Louis scored two runs in the first. Furcal doubled, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a Nick Punto groundout, then Berkman added a solo shot to right.

"They were aggressive, they're playing with a lot of energy right now. The first pitch got ambushed, it was where I wanted it," Halladay said of Furcal's at-bat leading into the two-run frame.

The Phils got a run back in the home second as Placido Polanco singled with two outs, went to second on a Punto error and scored on a Carlos Ruiz base hit, but Berkman knocked in Lohse with a two-out hit in the third to make it 3-1.

Philly left the bases loaded in the home half when Polanco fanned swinging, and then stranded two more in the fourth. Halladay prevented further damage in the Cardinals fifth by fanning Allen Craig swinging with runners on first and second.

In the seventh, Punto worked a two-out walk and scored when Pujols followed with a double to the gap in left-center.

Lohse departed after fanning Pence in the eighth. Marc Rzepczynski finished off the scoreless frame.

Game Notes

St. Louis took six of nine from Philadelphia this season...Halladay hadn't lost a September start since 9/20/09 against Tampa Bay when he pitched for Toronto...Rollins collected his 100th career triple...The Cardinals return home on Tuesday to welcome the Mets, while the Phillies open up a four-game, three-day series with a day-night doubleheader against the Nationals.