Derek Lowe will try to bounce back from his worst performance as a Dodger in the place where he celebrated the most important victory of his career as Los Angeles wraps up a four-game series with the defending NL champion St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Lowe, signed by Los Angeles this past offseason after helping Boston to its first World Series title since 1918, yielded two earned runs or fewer in each of his first four starts, establishing himself as a legitimate ace on the Dodgers staff.
However, the veteran right-hander has lost two of his last three outings, including Saturday’s 11-3 drubbing at Cincinnati.
Lowe was rolling through the first five innings, yielding just one hit, but was pounded in the sixth. He left the game after 5 2-3 innings, surrendering a season-high six runs and seven hits.
“It’s a nine-inning game,” Lowe said. “To go from allowing one hit to losing by eight, it’s frustrating. This is a good hitter’s park. You have to bring your A-game here.
“It just snowballed. It was frustrating to see how the inning unfolded.”
Lowe has not faced the Cardinals since pitching seven innings of three-hit ball at Busch Stadium in a Game 4 of last year’s World Series, helping the Red Sox complete the sweep with a 3-0 victory and celebrating the franchise’s first title since 1918.
Despite the poor outing in Cincinnati, Lowe still leads the Dodgers with a 2.87 ERA and is tied for the team lead with 29 strikeouts in a team-high 47 innings.
Los Angeles, which lost to St. Louis in four games during last year’s NL Division Series, has dropped two of three to the Cardinals in this series, including Wednesday’s 9-3 setback.
David Eckstein had four hits and an RBI to extend his hitting streak to 12 games for St. Louis, which has won seven of eight at home against the Dodgers counting last year’s playoffs.
Los Angeles’ Hee-Seop Choi, who withstood a collision at first base Tuesday that forced St. Louis’ Scott Rolen out of the game with a sprained left shoulder, went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Choi hit the go-ahead three-run home run and had four RBIs in Tuesday’s 9-8 win.
Rolen is not expected to play Thursday, and will not accompany the team when it begins a road trip in New York this weekend.
“I’m just trying to get through today,” manager Tony La Russa said. “I don’t know if he’s going to be out for a while. One thing at a time.”