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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rough inning sinks Lohse in loss

Starter touched up for six runs in the fourth vs. Cubs
ST. LOUIS - Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse had just one rocky outing in six starts in April, but because of one bad inning, his first start in May would become his worst of the season thus far.

The Chicago Cubs knocked Lohse around for six runs in the fourth inning on Saturday afternoon and handed the Cardinals a 9-3 defeat in front of a record crowd of 46,792 at Busch Stadium.

"Really, it was just one inning where I couldn't put the ball where I wanted to," Lohse said. "I left a lot of pitches up out over the plate, and that's a team that will hurt you if you do that."

The Cardinals fell to 19-12 on the season. The Cubs improved to 18-12. The teams will meet in the final game of the series at 7:05 p.m. CT on Sunday in a nationally-televised game on ESPN.

Chicago broke the game open in the fourth when right fielder Kosuke Fukudome had an RBI double to right, catcher Geovany Soto hit a two-run double to center field and second baseman Mike Fontenot had a three-run home run to right field, his second of the year.

"The pitch to Fukudome I was trying to get back in there with a nice little cutter down and in, and I think it just kind of broke down instead of in," Lohse said. "It was on the corner, but I'm trying to throw it to his back foot and it just didn't get there. I hung a curveball and made a couple bad pitches there in a row."

The Fontenot home run was the first Lohse allowed in 37 2/3 innings this season.

"He just couldn't make the pitch to get past the damage," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He made some mistakes and they jumped him."

The Cardinals answered with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

St. Louis scored in the bottom of the fourth when right fielder Ryan Ludwick's double to left-center brought home Brendan Ryan. Catcher Yadier Molina homered in the fifth inning, and first baseman Albert Pujols went deep in the sixth for his sixth home run of the season.

That was all the Cardinals could muster off Cubs starter Ted Lilly (2-4). The lefty allowed just three runs on six hits over seven innings, with four strikeouts and one walk.

"He likes to run the fastball in, and as soon as he runs that in, he likes to go soft away a lot of the time," Ludwick said. "He was effective with it today."

Chicago added three runs in the seventh on RBI doubles from left fielder Alfonso Soriano and Fukudome and a bases-loaded walk to Fontenot by Cardinals reliever Russ Springer.

Lohse (3-1) allowed eight runs on nine hits over six innings of work. He walked two batters and did not strike out any. He threw 106 pitches, with 67 for strikes.

"I was out there battling," Lohse said. "One bad inning kind of broke our back, but I was able to bounce back and keep us in it until I went out there in the seventh and made two bad pitches. I'll chalk it up to a bad inning. I was battling as hard as I could and got some quick outs besides the one bad inning."

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