"That was the key to the game," said right-hander Kyle Lohse, who gained his sixth straight win with another strong effort.
"Getting out with just one run was huge," Lohse said.
Lohse got out of a similar spot in the fifth, fanning Ramirez with the bases loaded and one out and then retiring Lowell on a force out.
"You try to not to be too predictable," said Lohse, who threw mostly fastballs rather than a lot of curves and changes, as is his custom. "They remember what you did against them the last time."
Manager Tony La Russa, knowing he has rookie right-hander Mitchell Boggs going against Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday, went all out on Friday, using right-hander Ryan Franklin for two innings.
Though Franklin gave up one run in the ninth, he recorded his 10th save of the season and his first two-inning save.
"It did seem like a little playoff atmosphere out there," Franklin said. "It was pretty exciting."
CARDINALS 5, RED SOX 4: C Jason LaRue and DH Yadier Molina hit solo homers and RF Skip Schumaker cracked a two-run homer off Boston RHP Tim Wakefield Friday as the Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak. RHP Kyle Lohse raised his record to 9-2 with a stout, six-inning effort. "He's not tipping pitches anymore," said LaRue, who caught Lohse in Cincinnati. "He's getting the results he should have always had."
NOTES AND QUOTES
--Manager Tony La Russa changed his mind during an hour rain delay before the game. He was going to catch C Yadier Molina for the first time after he suffered a concussion on Sunday. Instead, La Russa installed Molina as the designated hitter and caught Jason LaRue for the fourth straight game. Each hit a home run.
--RHP Mike Parisi was recalled from Class AAA Memphis to give the Cardinals some pitching depth in this series and RHP Brad Thompson, who started and lost on Thursday, was optioned to Memphis.
--RF Skip Schumaker hit his third homer in his last seven games as he batted second rather than in his customary leadoff spot.
--SS Cesar Izturis, after booting one ball and almost misplaying another, came out of the game with a strained hamstring. Brendan Ryan replaced him.