The Cardinals reached a height Sunday night they hadn't scaled since the last day of the 2011 season, when they won to get into the playoffs.
They got to 10 games over .500 for the first time this season by beating the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-0.
This triumph gave the Cardinals 12 wins in their last 16 games and a sweep of the fast-fading Brewers. The winner was perhaps the most overlooked pitcher in baseball, right-hander Kyle Lohse.
After tossing six scoreless innings to lower his earned-run average to 2.79, Lohse ran his record to 12-2 for a .857 percentage, best in the National League. He has 12 straight starts of at least six innings.
A fourth inning marked by an error and two walks forced Lohse to throw 33 pitches, running his count to 100 by the end of six innings. But that fourth inning was scoreless, telling manager Mike Matheny something about Lohse.
"That inning in the past might have reached up and bit him," said Matheny. "But you see a different pitcher now."
To the thought that he is going unnoticed, Lohse said, "I don't play this game for that stuff. I like the fact that my teammates and my manager appreciate what I am doing."
A team that had the worst ERA in the
league for the seventh inning of games seems to have found an answer.
Right-hander Edward Mujica, acquired from
"He's certainly done a nice job in that spot," Matheny said, "so we're going to let him roll."
Mujica then turned matters over to right-hander Mitchell Boggs, who logged his 23rd consecutive scoreless outing with a spotless eighth, and right-hander Jason Motte, who recorded his 24th save in 28 opportunities.
"It's a nice feeling to know that if we get to the seventh with the lead, it's going to be held," Matheny said.
And the Cardinals went to 59-49 at the two-thirds point of their schedule. Asked if reaching 10 over meant anything, Matheny said he didn't know anything about it. "You can tell how much attention I paid to it," he said.
What he did know, though, was, "We're playing good baseball right now."
SS Daniel Descalso, giving Rafael Furcal another day off, turned in his first three-hit game of the season with a triple and two singles. Descalso has started nine straight games either at shortstop or second and manager Mike Matheny said, "He's on a good run right now. We just want to keep him going. Wherever we've put him, he's done a nice job. The guys all appreciate his brand of baseball. Not that they're not playing hard but he goes through the wall."
Manager Mike Matheny said SS Rafael Furcal still was not completely healthy after missing five games recently with a lower-back issue. Furcal, who is nothing for his last 14, sat out Sunday night's start too. "We're going to have to be careful with him, or else we're going to lose him," Matheny said.
LHP Jaime Garcia, who
threw 4 1/3 innings, allowing just two hits and one run in a rehab start for
Class AA Springfield Saturday night, said he was not quite all the way back
after being sidelined with a shoulder strain. But he said, "It's definitely
better. I don't want to say that it's where it used to be two years ago or that
it is 100 percent. But I can definitely feel the difference." Garcia, who threw
64 pitches Saturday, next will pitch in
RHP Joe Kelly, who has pitched better than his 2-4 record, could find himself in the bullpen after his next start if LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder strain) is activated next week. But manager Mike Matheny, while saying the Cardinals had been considering for a while what to do with their rotation when Garcia returned, said, "We'll address that when we get to it."
LF Matt Holliday, who seems to hit every ball hard if he makes contact, had two more hits on Sunday. He has 32 two-hit games for the season and 42 multi-hit games overall as he's raised his average to .324.
By the Numbers:
7 - Seasons with at least 25 homers for RF Carlos Beltran.
Quote to Note:
"I just don't feel very agile."
- 1B Lance Berkman, after his right knee flared up again, placing him on the disabled list.
C Yadier Molina (sprained right thumb) was hurt Aug. 1, and he didn't play Aug. 2. X-rays were negative, and he was back in the lineup Aug. 3.
1B Lance Berkman (sore right knee) re-injured the surgically repaired joint Aug. 2 and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 3.
SS Rafael Furcal (back discomfort) did not play July 28-Aug. 2. He felt a little better Aug. 3 and was back in the lineup.
LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 16. After further examination, it was determined that he has tearing in his rotator cuff. He threw 40 pitches from 60 feet on flat ground for the first time in a month July 4. He threw live batting practice July 25. He began a rehab assignment July 30 in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and he was slated to make three or four starts before a potential return to the Cardinals in mid-August.
RHP Kyle McClellan (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July 10.
RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He threw for the first time since March on June 13 and then threw another 40 pitches on June 15. He threw to hitters for the first time June 22 but then had a setback June 25 when he felt renewed weakness in the shoulder. He said it felt better the next day, and he had an extensive throwing session off flat ground June 27. On June 28, he was told he has thoracic outlet syndrome, which can cause, among its effects, weakness in one's shoulder. A July 2 bullpen session was canceled. He underwent season-ending surgery July 19 to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
Link to boxscore: St. Louis 3, Milwaukee 0