Right-hander Kyle Lohse tries to make it eight straight starts without a loss tonight when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a three-game interleague set at Busch Stadium.
Lohse fell to 4-1 on the season with a 5-4 loss at Houston on May 4 - when he allowed five runs in five innings - but is 2-0 in seven starts since, including a 2-0 blanking of Cleveland in his most recent outing on June 9.
In that start, Lohse gave up just three hits, walked two and struck out four across 7 2/3 innings while improving to 108-107 in his big-league career and lowering his in-season earned run average to 2.90.
Lohse, who reached double-digit wins for the fourth time in 12 big-league seasons in 2011, is 6-5 lifetime against the Royals with a 3.97 ERA in 115 2/3 innings.
For Kansas City, righty Vin Mazzaro starts for the fourth time this season and the third time in his career against St. Louis.
The New Jersey native was a third-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2005 and debuted with them in 2009, before heading to Kansas City in a November 2010 trade that sent David DeJesus to Oakland.
Mazzaro split two decisions in seven appearances with the Royals last season and has bounced between the minors and the big leagues in 2012 while making three starts and one relief outing.
He won the initial two starts against Texas and Oakland, but was a 5-3 loser at Pittsburgh on June 9 after allowing four runs on three hits and four walks in three innings.
The 25-year-old has faced St. Louis twice and posted a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings in a pair of no-decisions.
On Thursday in Kansas City, the Royals came from behind in the ninth inning for the second straight night, beating Milwaukee, 4-3, to complete a three- game sweep.
Brayan Pena stroked a pinch-hit single in the ninth off of John Axford (1-3) to score two runs and win the game.
Luke Hochevar kept the Brewers' bats quiet, allowing three runs in 7 1/3 innings. Hochevar received a no-decision after allowing six hits and a walk while striking out five.
In St. Louis, David Freese hit a two-run homer and an RBI double and the Cardinals topped the Chicago White Sox, 5-3, in the finale of a three-game interleague series.
Matt Adams added a two-run single for the Cardinals, who took two of three in this series. Daniel Descalso chipped in with two hits and a run scored in the victory.
Jake Westbrook (5-6) retired the first 12 batters he faced and allowed three runs on five hits without issuing a walk over six frames to earn the win.
Jason Motte earned his 13th save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
St. Louis won four of six from the Royals last season.