The Cardinals Major League Notebook 08/29

The Cardinals begin the 28-game stretch run of their season with a six-game trip to Houston and Arizona, beginning Friday with three at Minute Maid Park.

They start the journey looking uphill at a 3 1/2-game deficit behind the Brewers in the wild-card chase, and third baseman Troy Glaus said, "We've got a tough trip, tough places to play.

"We're playing a bunch of good teams from here. We play a first-place team (Arizona) to start next week, and things don't get easier for us from here."

The Cardinals drew some more breath Wednesday when they rallied with four runs in the eighth inning to overcome Milwaukee 5-3 in the teams' final meeting of the season. They would have been 5 1/2 games out if they had lost.

"I won't go so far as to say it's a 'must-win,' because there is no 'must-win' until you've got only a few to play or you're about to be eliminated," Glaus said. "But this was a 'way-better-off-if-we-did-win' game because we're way better off that we did."

The Cardinals will send out Kyle Lohse to start the series in Houston. Lohse (13-6) hasn't won since Aug. 1.

"It doesn't change much for me," Lohse said. "The way I look at every start is I have to go out there and win it, try and keep doing what I've been dong."


--RF Ryan Ludwick, who has 97 RBIs on the season, is hitting .366 over his last 10 games.

--C Yadier Molina's 126 hits are the most by a Cardinals catcher since Tony Pena had 133 in 1988.

--Seven of the Cardinals' final 28 games are against Arizona, a team the St. Louis hasn't played all season.

--RHP Chris Carpenter (strained right shoulder) is expected to throw a bullpen session in Houston. If that goes well, he may be activated next week.

--LHP Randy Flores and INF Brendan Ryan are among the players expected to join the Cardinals from Class AAA Memphis on Monday.

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