The Cardinals Major League Notebook 07/18

Kyle Lohse has lost just two of his last 34 starts over two seasons. The Cardinals' new ace survived a rocky beginning Thursday, in which he allowed two runs in the first three innings, and raised his record to 12-2. Lohse, who has won his last nine decisions this year, gave up only two singles over his final four innings.

"Early on, he was having a little trouble locating. As he got deeper (in the game), he really started making great pitches," manager Tony La Russa said.

Troy Glaus probably has been the hottest hitter in baseball over the last four games. In that span, Glaus has gone 12-for-17 with four homers, including consecutive solo blasts in the second and fourth innings Thursday. He is 7-for-15 with four homers in his career against San Diego ace Jake Peavy.

"He's really had an outstanding year, considering that first few weeks when he was struggling," La Russa said. Glaus got nearly to the end of May with only two homers. He has 17 now.

Many folks thought the offseason trade of third basemen between Toronto and St. Louis would be one-sided, and it has been. Glaus has 17 homers and 61 RBIs, doubling Scott Rolen in both categories.

Rick Ankiel and Joe Mather also homered as Peavy, the 2007 Cy Young Award winner, strangely allowed all four runs on solo homers.

"(Peavy) doesn't make many mistakes," La Russa said. "He got some pitches in the zone ... and we hit home runs."

The Cardinals have clouted 11 homers in the last four games, three against Pittsburgh and one against San Diego.

With options including former closer Jason Isringhausen, La Russa went to Ryan Franklin in the ninth inning. He left Franklin in despite his allowing back-to-back doubles to cut a two-run lead in half in the ninth, and Franklin responded by retiring the final three hitters, with the ball not leaving the infield.

"This guy's got great guts. And that was a clutch recovery," La Russa said.

The best relief was done, however, by Kyle McClellan and Ron Villone, who worked a perfect eighth.

CARDINALS 4, PADRES 3: The Cardinals won for just the fourth time in their last 11 home games with a homer-or-nothing offense. They hit four solo home runs, including back-to-back drives by Rick Ankiel (No. 21) and Troy Glaus (No. 17) in the fourth inning. Glaus had two homers, giving him four in his last three games.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--RHP Adam Wainwright and RHP Chris Carpenter both are on target to rejoin the team in the first couple of weeks of August. Wainwright, who has a ruptured pulley in his right middle finger, will throw long-toss Friday and then meet with the medical staff Sunday to discuss if he can begin pitching next week. Carpenter, who had Tommy John elbow surgery a year ago, had a good outing in a simulated game Monday in Florida and will make a rehabilitation start Sunday for Class AA Springfield. It will be Carpenter's first official game since he started the first game of the 2007 season.

--The Cardinals rotation leads the National League with a 41-23 mark after going 48-72 last year.

--LHP Randy Flores, who has been on a medical rehab option as he recovers from tendinitis in his left ankle, will be activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday.

--Manager Tony La Russa called a brief meeting before Thursday's game. La Russa said it was customary for him to call such a meeting when the second half of the season started. "Pat them on the back for all they've done and let them know it's all ahead of us," La Russa said.

--The Cardinals are 54-43 and four games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division. "For 3 1/2 months, it's been good," Tony La Russa said. "I don't think it's been great, but it's been good. The effort has been great. But there's no fun in fading. We've just got to keep the effort up and improve the execution."

--OF Ryan Ludwick, an All-Star, sat out the start against RHP Jake Peavy, so that Tony La Russa could have another left-handed bat in the lineup. His replacement, Chris Duncan, struck out twice in three at-bats.


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