Kyle Lohse may not be one of St. Louis' five selected All- Stars this season, but he has been arguably the Cardinals most consistent pitcher.
Lohse looks for a third straight winning start this evening in the second contest of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins.
The right-hander has pitched at least seven innings in five straight starts, going 3-1 in that span with a 1.98 earned run average. He improved to 4-2 with a 4.60 ERA in eight career meetings with the Marlins with a victory over them on June 26, tossing 7 1/3 innings of two-run, four-hit ball.
Lohse beat the Rockies on Monday with a similar outing, scattering two runs, nine hits and a pair of walks over 7 1/3 frames. The 33-year-old improved to 8-2 with a 2.80 ERA in 17 starts this season.
"He just pitched. He did a little bit of everything, but most of it is just his efficiency, staying down and getting the ground balls when he needed to," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said about Lohse.
Carlos Zambrano has been the opposite of consistent for the Marlins and seeks his first victory in six starts. He is 0-3 over his previous five outings, with the Marlins losing each game.
The right-hander has issued 22 walks over 22 innings of his winless slide and gave up five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and five walks over 6 2/3 frames of a loss to the Cardinals and Lohse on June 26. He fell to 12-7 in his career against St. Louis with a 3.47 ERA.
Zambrano, 32, struggled again in a no-decision at the Brewers on Monday. He was charged with five runs -- three earned -- on five hits and four walks in a game that saw Miami charged with three errors.
"It was a pretty ugly one," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Carlos was a little weird today, but I wouldn't say he was bad. We made too many mistakes today to win."
In 16 starts this season, Zambrano is 4-6 with a 4.14 ERA.
It was the Cardinals who were undone by some poor defense in Friday's opener, getting charged with three errors on the way to a 3-2 defeat.
Ricky Nolasco allowed one unearned run over six innings for Miami, scattering nine hits and a walk. Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek combined to keep the Cardinals scoreless after the sixth and Heath Bell worked around some trouble in the ninth to record his 19th save of the season.
Logan Morrison crushed a solo home run and Jose Reyes added an RBI single as the Marlins won their third straight game and seventh in the past nine tries.
"We're feeling good about ourselves. Even in the games we've lost we've been real close, so it's a good sign going into the break," said Nolasco. "We've got two more and then, hopefully, it keeps carrying over."
One good sign for the Marlins was All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton coming on as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. He had missed the last three games with a sore right knee.
Jake Westbrook absorbed the loss after giving up two runs -- one earned -- on five hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings. The Cardinals suffered just their second in their last six games.
"We had them early, we just came up short," said Matheny. "That was a tough loss."
St. Louis placed All-Star catcher Yadier Molina on the bereavement list on Friday and won't play in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic. He was replaced on the roster by teammate Matt Holliday.
The Marlins have lost three of five contests to St. Louis this season and eight of the past 10 meetings between the clubs.