Lohse attempts to gain a share of baseball’s wins lead Friday night when he tries to keep the division-leading Cardinals surging in the opener of a three-game road series against their closest pursuer.
St. Louis (38-26) took two of three at home versus Milwaukee (35-28) from May 6-8, as Cardinals pitchers compiled a 1.67 ERA and .170 opponent batting average.
Lohse was the hard-luck loser in the middle game of that series, yielding one run and six hits in eight innings of a 4-0 defeat.
The right-hander hasn’t defeated the Brewers since July 25, 2007, with Cincinnati. He’s 0-4 with a 4.50 ERA in eight starts against them since, and 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in three at Miller Park. His last victory there came in 2005, when he pitched for Minnesota.
Ending those droughts would move Lohse into a nine-way tie for the most wins in the majors. It would also give the Cardinals their sixth win in seven games after beating Houston 9-2 on Thursday.
“I just left some balls up,” Lohse told the Cardinals’ official website.
Avoiding that will be important for Lohse against the Brewers, who trail St. Louis by 2 1/2 games and own the best home record in baseball at 22-9.
Milwaukee, 21-8 since last meeting the Cardinals, lost 4-1 to the New York Mets on Thursday.
The Brewers haven’t lost consecutive games at Miller Park this season, and Prince Fielder(notes) will try to make sure that doesn’t happen Friday. Eight of Fielder’s nine hits over his last seven games have gone for extra bases. Six have left the park.
The slugging first baseman has 34 of his league-leading 54 RBIs at home, and 10 of his 17 homers.
“One of the biggest things about him is that he enjoys competing every day. It’s really impressive. People don’t realize how much of an impact that has not only on us, but on the opposing team.”
The left-hander was the victim of a big inning during a 6-5 loss in 11 to the Marlins on Sunday. He threw five scoreless innings before giving up four runs in the sixth and exiting with one out.
Narveson is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in four career starts versus the Cardinals, but earned a 4-2 victory Sept. 7 in his only home outing against them, allowing two runs in seven innings while striking out nine.
Pujols is 4 for 12 with two homers off Narveson, and enters this series hitting .385 with six homers and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games. The first baseman also has a .436 average with six homers and 15 RBIs in his last 10 games in Milwaukee.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa will manage his 5,000th game Friday, joining Connie Mack (7,755) as the only managers or coaches in American professional sports history to reach that milestone.