The Cubs hope for more success against the Cardinals’ right-hander when the teams continue their three-game series Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium.
Chicago (52-35) won 2-1 over St. Louis in Friday’s opener to increase its lead to 3 1/2 games over the Cardinals in the NL Central. Kosuke Fukudome and Geovany Soto each homered as the Cubs gave enough support to Carlos Zambrano in his first start since coming off the disabled list from a strained right shoulder.
The outcome evened the season series through four games between the longtime rivals while improving the Cubs to 3-5 on their 10-game road trip. St. Louis (49-39), meanwhile, has lost two in a row and three of four.
Soto went 3-for-3 and is hitting .409 (9-for-22) with four RBIs in his last six contests.
Chicago’s Jim Edmonds went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Friday in his first trip back to Busch since being traded to San Diego after spending eight successful seasons in St. Louis.
“I haven’t struck out three times in a while,” said Edmonds, who is batting .283 since being signed by Chicago in mid-May. “I couldn’t hit here when they built it, and I still can’t.”
The 38-year-old is 3-for-9 with two RBIs against Lohse, who is looking to become the third NL pitcher with at least 11 wins this season.
Though Lohse (10-2, 3.67 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise for the Cardinals since they signed him during spring training, he is 1-2 with a 5.92 ERA in five starts against Chicago.
The right-hander allowed a season-high eight runs and nine hits in six innings of a 9-3 loss to the Cubs on May 3 as Fukudome went 3-for-5 with two RBIs off him.
Lohse, 7-0 with a 2.44 ERA in his last eight starts overall, allowed an unearned run and five hits in seven innings of a 7-1 victory over the New York Mets on Monday, giving him one more victory than he had for Cincinnati and Philadelphia in 2007.
“That’s in the past,” Lohse said. “I’ve been doing a lot of stuff different this year. I feel like a different pitcher.”
The Cubs counter with Ted Lilly (9-5, 4.56), who is looking for his fifth straight winning decision in his second matchup this season against Lohse.
Lilly, 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA versus the Cardinals, lasted seven innings in that May contest at Busch. The left-hander - 4-0 with a 3.15 ERA in his last five outings - gave up seven hits and both runs in eight innings of a 9-2 win at San Francisco on Monday.
“I felt like I was mixing my pitches well,” Lilly told the Cubs’ official Web site. “I think that was the key.”
St. Louis’ Albert Pujols homered off Lilly in May and went 2-for-4 on Friday with a home run to become the fifth-youngest player to reach 300 for his career.
“What milestone? It’s 300 homers,” said Pujols, who is hitting .348 with 18 homers in 2008. “I don’t play for records, I play to help my team win.”
Pujols is 5-for-14 with two homers, a double and four RBIs against Chicago this season.