Diamondbacks-Cardinals Preview

The Associated Press

Kyle Lohse has been dominating at Busch Stadium this year, and continuing that trend could give the St. Louis Cardinals some momentum heading into a big weekend series.

Lohse will try to win his fifth straight decision in St. Louis on Thursday night when the Cardinals finish their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

St. Louis continues to play well at home, winning 15 of 18 there, including a 5-2 win Wednesday.

Solid pitching has been key to the success at home, as the Cardinals (64-53) have given up two or fewer runs in 12 of those games, including the last two.

After rookie Joe Kelly pitched into the seventh on Tuesday, Adam Wainwright went six innings Wednesday, backed by a two-run homer from David Freese in the fourth and a solo shot by Allen Craig in the fifth.

St. Louis, which is 5-0 against Arizona this season and won seven straight in the series, is tied with three teams for the two NL wild-card spots - including Pittsburgh, which visits St. Louis this weekend.

"If anyone knows, we know a lot of stuff can happen in a month-and-a-half," closer Jason Motte said. "We've got to come out tomorrow ready to go, ready to handle business."

The Cardinals will try to keep things going behind Lohse (12-2, 2.72 ERA) as he looks to continue his winning ways at Busch Stadium.

Lohse is 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 11 starts in St. Louis this year. He's given up two or fewer runs in five straight starts there.

The right-hander was also effective on the road Friday, when he allowed one run and four hits while striking out a season-high seven in seven innings of a 3-1 loss at Philadelphia without getting a decision.

"Everything was working for him," manager Mike Matheny said. "He pitched seven solid innings. You couldn't ask for more."

Lohse is 3-2 with a 5.03 ERA versus Arizona. He went five innings against them May 9, surrendering one run and seven hits in a 7-2 victory.

While Lohse has been outstanding at home, the Diamondbacks' Trevor Cahill (9-10, 3.85) has pitched well on the road, going 5-4 with a 2.88 ERA.

Cahill, who has a 4.97 ERA at home, wasn't as sharp his last time out at home, giving up four runs and two homers in six innings of a 9-1 loss to Washington last Friday.

"It was one of those nights," Cahill told the Diamondbacks' official website. "I made a couple mistakes and they made me pay for it."

The right-hander's only appearance against the Cardinals was in 2010 with Oakland. He allowed two solo homers in six innings of a 3-2 win, but didn't factor in the decision.

The Diamondbacks (58-59) have lost eight of 11, hitting .215 in that span while being held to two or fewer runs five times. They are 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position in this series.

"It's been frustrating. We've played some games we could have won and we're not taking advantage of that right now,'' Chris Johnson said after going 0 for 3. ''We just need to relax, stay calm, and I think we'll be all right.''

Arizona is six games back in the wild card.

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