Right-hander Kyle Lohse puts a six-decision win streak on the line Wednesday when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Houston Astros in the middle test of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.
A native of Chico, Calif., Lohse hasn't lost since dropping a 3-2 interleague game to the Kansas City Royals on June 15, when he fell to 6-2 on the season.
He's 6-0 in 11 starts since - in which the Cardinals are 7-4 - while allowing two runs or less 10 times and pitching at least seven innings seven times.
Lohse tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings of four-hit ball against Arizona on Aug. 16, but emerged with a no-decision when St. Louis lost the game, 2-1.
The Cardinals have scored two runs in his last two outings - both no-decisions - while he's allowed a run on eight hits in 13 2/3 innings.
The 33-year-old is 8-8 lifetime against Houston in 17 appearances.
The Astros go with fellow Californian Bud Norris, who, contrary to Lohse, hasn't won since May 21.
The 27-year-old improved to 5-1 on the season with seven innings of shutout ball in an 8-4 defeat of the Chicago Cubs, but has since dropped nine straight decisions while the Astros have gone 1-12 in his 13 starts.
He was roughed up for six runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Aug. 16, but has pitched at least six innings eight times since the last win while allowing three runs or less seven times.
Norris is 7-3 with a stingy 2.47 earned run average in 12 career starts against St. Louis.
On Tuesday, Adam Wainwright continued to dominate the Astros and the Cardinals took the opener, 7-0.
It took 105 pitches for Wainwright (12-10) to throw his fourth career shutout. He held the Astros to five hits and only issued one walk. He matched a career high with 12 strikeouts en route to his fifth straight winning decision.
In the process, Wainwright improved to 12-1 with a 1.58 earned run average in 20 games (14 starts) against Houston in his career.
"I don't know what more you could ask of him. He had everything working," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He's been pretty impressive here for a while."
Yadier Molina drove in a pair of runs and picked up three hits to lead the St. Louis attack.
Lucas Harrell (10-9), who pitched to a 2.06 ERA over his previous seven starts, was ambushed for six runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings.
"Today was just one of those days where it didn't really work out for me," Harrell said.
The teams split their first six games of 2012, with the Astros taking two of three in May in Houston, while the Cardinals won two of three there in June.