Kyle Lohse hopes his June success carries over into a new month when he takes the hill tonight for the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies.
Lohse closed out May with a no-decision in Atlanta that saw him allow five runs over five innings of work. However, he went 2-1 with a 1.80 earned run average in five starts last month, capping his June with a win over the Marlins on Tuesday.
The right-hander was staked to a 5-0 lead after the first and allowed just two runs on four hits and a pair of walks over 7 1/3 frames. Lohse improved to 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 16 starts this season.
"Sometimes it's tough when you have a lead like that to stay with your game plan, but he did a nice job," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Lohse.
The 33-year-old has split six lifetime decisions against the Rockies and is 2-0 with a 1.58 ERA in five meetings when facing them as the home pitcher.
Getting the call for the Rockies will be Josh Outman, who was also staked to a big early lead in his last outing, one he failed to help hold.
Colorado handed Outman a 7-0 lead after two frames on Thursday against the Nationals, but he ended up allowing five runs on five hits and a walk while lasting three innings. The 27-year-old lefty earned a no-decision and is 0-2 with a 9.26 ERA in six games a starter this year.
Outman, who has also made eight appearances out of the bullpen for the Rockies, will face the Cardinals for the first time.
Colorado has lost four of its past six and was shut out in the rubber match of a three-game series with San Diego on Sunday. Drew Pomeranz, recalled from the minors to start the game, took a tough-luck loss as he gave up just one unearned run over six innings of a 2-0 defeat.
"Unfortunately we didn't hit enough today to get it done," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Pirates over the weekend by taking Sunday's finale 5-4. Allen Craig and Yadier Molina both homered to help St. Louis snap a three-game skid.
"There was certainly an urgency today," Matheny said. "That's what the good teams do. They have that sense of urgency every time they walk out there."
Jake Westbrook allowed four runs on nine hits and a walk over six innings to earn the win as the Cards sit 2 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central.
The Cardinals have won eight of their past 10 versus the Rockies, going 6-1 at home versus them in that time.