In the first home game in eleven days, a series opener with the New York Mets, Kyle Lohse led the Cardinals to a decisive win. Recall Lohse’s last start, in Detroit, when he lasted only 4 innings, and allowed 5 runs on 11 hits. It was his only poor outing in five June starts. Tonight, against the potent Mets’ lineup, Lohse turned in a very impressive 7 innings in his sixth and final start of the month. He earned his team leading tenth win on the season. His only run allowed was unearned. He struck out four and gave up only five hits, and now sports a 3.67 ERA on the year.
The Cardinal offense was able to plate seven runs, two of which were unearned gifts. Aaron Miles continued to impress with another three hit night, and Chris Duncan hit his fifth home run of the season.
The other big story of the night was the long awaited return of Cardinal pitcher Mark Mulder. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning, despite giving up a pair of singles. To his credit, one of the hits, a blooper to left, should have been caught. I really want to point out Tony La Russa’s decision on when to give Mulder his ’08 debut. He played his Card perfectly, putting Mulder in a position to succeed, and boost his confidence. I think pitching the ninth inning to close out a game, especially for a guy looking to gain some traction, is far more beneficial than pitching some other inning. Besides the normal ovation from the crowd at Busch, when a guy closes out a game, he gets to line up for high fives and pats on the ass from his teammates. Sounds trivial, but for a guy that hasn’t been successful for as long as Mulder, it’s important to get the support of your comrades. Bravo Tony.
The win put the Cardinals at 48-36, and closed the book on June. 7-1 was the final. Here’s the full recap and box score. As I speculated yesterday, the Cardinals did in fact make a roster move today, swapping Nick Stavinoha for Brad Thompson to add a fresh arm in the bullpen. Todd Wellemeyer will get the start for the Birds tomorrow. A win will ensure a series split, and a possible stride toward the division leading Chicago Cubs.