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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cards can't overcome slow start

Lohse roughed up in finale as Redbirds split with Rockies
DENVER -- There was symmetry to the Cardinals' four-game series in Colorado, with two top-tier quality performances from the starting pitchers in the middle games and a bookend of significant struggles from the starters in the first and last game.

In Thursday's finale, Kyle Lohse struggled from the start, getting two quick outs before giving in to a four-run rally sparked by four hits and two walks from Colorado. The explosive first proved to be all the Rockies would need, ultimately going on to win by a 9-3 margin, splitting the series after the Cardinals had stormed in to take the first two games.

Lohse got better as he went on, but though he scattered the damage in his final three of four innings, he couldn't quite minimize it, allowing another three runs on four hit and three walks.

Meanwhile, the Redbirds bats had gone missing, their rhythm stifled by an effective outing from southpaw Jorge De La Rosa, who lasted 5 2/3 innings, holding St. Louis to two runs on five hits. Mike Ludwick extended his hitting streak to eight games in his first at-bat, a leadoff homer to left in the second, and he paired it with a two-out solo shot into the Cardinals centerfield bullpen in the eighth.

St. Louis mounted its most significant rally in the sixth, stringing three hits together from Skip Schumaker, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina with the RBI single to drive De La Rosa from the game. Molina joined Ludwick as the only other multi-hitting Cardinal on the day, and Ludwick's pair of roundtrippers were the only extra-base knocks for the Redbirds.

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