Ryan Ludwick didn’t hit his first home run until Sunday night. He has found his stroke since then, providing big hits to power the Cardinals early season success. The homer in St. Louis two nights ago was the difference and prevented another extra inning marathon. The homer may have been all he needed to gain some confidence moving forward. Baseball is a game of streaks, and right now Ludwick is hot. He is seeing the ball well and he’s not missing, either. He wasted no time tonight with a two-run shot in the first that brought in Skip Schumaker. Luddy flew solo in the third to put the Cards up 3-2. Right now, he is locked in. Plus, he has to enjoy hitting in front of Albert Pujols who followed Ludwick’s homer with one of his own. Pujols’ blast puts the Cardinals up 4-2 through three and gives Kyle Lohse the opportunity to get in the win column. Ludwick looks primed to return to his 2008 form — a year in which he hit .299, went deep 37 times, and made an All-Star appearance. With Matt Holliday providing protection for Pujols, Ludwick gets to set the table rather than play body guard. He’ll get plenty of good pitches with No. 5 lurking in the on deck circle, and it looks like he’s ready to make them pay. Good news for St. Louis. Bad news for the National League.
Scratch the chance for Lohse right now. He just gave up a two-run double to Gerardo Parra to even the score at four. This looks like a high scoring contest in the making. Lohse is still trying to find himself in 2010. Last year, he kept falling after a rough start and finished with a disappointing 6-10 record. His ERA is taking a hit again tonight. Now, he needs to battle through five or six innings to give St. Louis a chance to win. Giving up an RBI-single to Dan Haren isn’t going to help. Redbirds trail 5-4 going into the fourth. Lohse has some work to do to catch up with the other four starters. The bar is set high and he is scuffling to get through three innings.
With Ludwick, Pujols and Co. more runs will pile up eventually.
-The scoring has continued for the Cards. They struck back immediately after the D’Backs took the lead. Brendan Ryan, who has been quiet with the bat this year, tripled in David Freese and Bryan Anderson. Not to be outdone by his counterpart, Kyle Lohse drove in Ryan on a single to make it 7-5. That’s where we stand now in this rollercoaster of a game…nevermind. The turns keep getting sharper and the drops steeper as Arizona retook the lead on Mark Reynold’s three-run shot. Kyle Lohse will not get the win after Mitchell Boggs served one up. Lohse was responsible for two of the baserunners. He finishes his night after three innings, giving up seven runs, and walking four. Not exactly the recipe for success. His ERA now stands at 7.31. Ouch. Arizona leads 8-7. This one is on the offense. They need to keep scoring to get out with a win. With five more chances, St. Louis should cross the plate a few more times. The bullpen will get plenty of work tonight to keep the game within reach.