St. Louis (37-27) at Houston (32-31)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 83° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Sun Jun 8, 2008
  • TV: KSDK, KTXH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Kyle Lohse has likely exceeded any expectations the St. Louis Cardinals had for him after signing the veteran pitcher during spring training.

The right-hander looks to match a career high with a fourth consecutive victory while trying to help the Cardinals win their fourth straight road series when they conclude their set with the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Lohse (6-2, 3.87 ERA) has been a key part of St. Louis’ surprisingly successful rotation since the club signed him March 18 via free agency after going 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA for Cincinnati and Philadelphia in 2007.

He’s been particularly good in his last three starts, allowing two runs over 17 innings. Lohse hasn’t won four straight starts since Aug. 1-16, 2003 with Minnesota.

In his most recent outing, Lohse overcame two rain delays and gave up a run and four hits in five innings of a 6-1 victory at Washington on Tuesday to open the Cardinals’ current 10-game road trip.

“It felt like a lot of work,” Lohse told the Cardinals’ official Web site. “But it was worth it. We needed to start the road trip off good, and I think we did.”

St. Louis (37-27) beat Houston 8-4 Saturday for its seventh win in 11 meetings against the Astros this season while improving to 3-2 on the trip. Lohse tries to improve on his 2-0 mark and 1.50 ERA versus Houston in 2008. He allowed a run and five hits in six innings of a 3-2 victory over the Astros on May 29 and is 3-3 with a 2.75 ERA in six career starts against them.

On Saturday, Skip Schumaker had three hits with two RBIs while Ryan Ludwick had a three-run homer for the Cardinals, who scored seven runs in the second inning after losing 6-1 in Friday’s series opener.

Schumaker is batting 7-for-13 with four RBIs in his last three contests, raising his average to .306.

The Cardinals look for another big offensive effort against Houston’s scheduled Sunday starter Wandy Rodriguez (2-1, 2.38), who allowed six runs - three earned - in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-1 loss to the Cardinals on May 28 in his first game since coming off the disabled list from a strained left groin.

Rodriguez is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts versus St. Louis in 2008 and 1-5 with a 5.09 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals.

The left-hander, though, allowed five hits in six innings of a 2-0 win at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

“My changeup and breaking ball was much better than my last game in St. Louis,” Rodriguez told the Astros’ official Web site. “I had a good rhythm.”

Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn and Brad Ausmus each had three hits Saturday for the Astros, who matched a season-high with 15 hits, but were held to fewer than five runs for the ninth time in 10 contests.

Pence is batting .350 (7-for-20) with four RBIs in his last five games and 4-for-10 with a double, triple and two RBIs lifetime against Lohse.

Starting Pitchers

K. Lohse Mil vs. W. Rodríguez Tex
15-6 Record 9-7
3.78 ERA 3.54
119 K 131
49 BB 44
1.30 WHIP 1.31

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jun 8