Lohse will try again to record his first May win as the Cardinals and Kansas City Royals continue their I-70 interleague series Saturday.
Todd Wellemeyer(notes) and three relievers combined on a five-hitter as St. Louis won 5-0 on Friday. Including a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs earlier this week, Cardinals hurlers have a 0.50 ERA, allowing two runs and 19 hits with 27 strikeouts and seven walks.
“I want to get on that thing and keep riding it as long as we can,” Wellemeyer said. “I don’t think it’s contagious. Maybe it is, I don’t know. We’ll keep the ball rolling, though.”
Lohse certainly would like to. A surprise 15-game winner last year, he was 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA in five April starts, but three consecutive losses this month have contributed to his ERA going up by nearly three runs. Facing Milwaukee on Sunday on two days’ rest after briefly pitching in a game that was rained out, the right-hander gave up four runs and walked three in three innings of an 8-4 loss.
“Everything was up,” said Lohse (3-3, 4.66 ERA), who labored through 89 pitches. “About eight at-bats went six pitches or more and anytime you have that, you’re working really hard and they’re seeing everything you’ve got.”
Lohse, who played the first six years of his career with Minnesota, is 0-3 with a 4.17 ERA in seven starts against the Royals since beating them July 7, 2004.
With Rick Ankiel(notes) (shoulder) and Ryan Ludwick(notes) (hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list, St. Louis (25-17) got contributions from fill-ins Nick Stavinoha(notes) and Tyler Greene(notes) in the series opener. Stavinoha had a two-run single in the first, and Greene hit his second career homer in the seventh.
Kansas City (21-21) has dropped 10 of 13 and could fall below .500 for the first time since it was 2-3 on April 11. To try and prevent that, Luke Hochevar(notes) (0-1, 16.88) will need to start pitching like he did in the minors.
Hochevar was 5-0 and had an 0.90 ERA with Triple-A Omaha this year but hasn’t been able to continue that success on the major league level.
Selected first overall in 2006 - nine picks ahead of reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum(notes) of San Francisco - Hochevar has failed to make it out of the fourth in two starts since being called up May 10, allowing 10 runs, 11 hits and five walks over 5 1-3 innings.
The right-hander lasted 3 1-3 against Baltimore on Sunday, giving up three runs, three hits and two walks in the 7-4 win.
“He wasn’t going to pull out of it himself, in my opinion,” manager Trey Hillman said.
Hochevar is 0-5 with a 10.50 ERA in his last five road starts. He has never faced St. Louis.
Hillman said after Friday’s loss that he would shake up his lineup, perhaps dropping struggling second baseman Alberto Callaspo(notes) from second to sixth or seventh. Callaspo is 2 for 16 with no RBIs in six games near the top of the order.