DENVER (AP) — Kyle Lohse pitched six solid innings to match a major league high with his seventh win and Jon Jay hit a two-run homer, helping the St. Louis Cardinals hold off the Colorado Rockies 4-3 on Sunday.
Colby Rasmus added a solo shot and Yadier Molina chipped in a run-scoring single as the Cardinals finished up a nine-game road trip with a 6-3 mark.
The Rockies struggled to get anything going early against Lohse (7-2) a night after scoring a season-high 15 runs. The righty scattered six hits and struck out six before running out of steam in the seventh.
A healthy Lohse joins a pack of pitchers tied at seven wins. He had a total of 10 victories over the last two seasons while hampered by a forearm injury that required surgery last year.
Jhoulys Chacin (5-4) was hit hard for a second straight outing, surrendering four runs and six hits in six innings against the Cardinals. Most of the damage was done in the opening frame when Chacin allowed three runs, including Jay’s deep shot to right on a hanging 83-mph slider.
The Rockies have dropped eight of 10 as they now embark on a nine-game road trip.
Lohse was cruising along until the seventh when he gave up three straight hits to begin the frame, including an RBI single by Ty Wigginton.
Reliever Eduardo Sanchez was summoned into the game and promptly walked Chris Iannetta to load the bases. But he struck out pinch-hitter Jason Giambi and got Eric Young Jr. to line into a double play to escape the inning with no runs.
Sanchez started the eighth and ran into trouble by allowing a single to Carlos Gonzalez and walking Todd Helton. Fernando Salas came in and struck out Wigginton.
In the ninth, Salas walked Ryan Spilborghs before striking out the next two hitters. After an RBI single by Young, Dexter Fowler singled to right to put runners on the corners. Salas got Gonzalez to ground out to earn his ninth save in as many appearances.
Rasmus finished with two hits, including his solo shot in the fourth to right. He entered the series in an 0-for-20 skid, but broke out of his funk in a big way at Coors Field. The center fielder was 6 for 12 to boost his average to .287.
The Rockies manufactured a run in the third after the hot-hitting Iannetta led off with a double. He was bunted over to third and scored on Young’s sacrifice fly.
St. Louis wasted little time grabbing the lead as Ryan Theriot started off the game with a single, extending his hitting streak to 12 games, and Jay followed with his fourth homer of the season.
Molina later added a two-out single up the middle, making it 3-0, before Chacin struck out Daniel Descalso to end the inning.
With the performance of Juan Nicasio on Saturday night in his major league debut, Rockies manager Jim Tracy now has quite a dilemma. The hard-throwing righty was scheduled to make only a spot start, but he limited St. Louis, one of the best-hitting teams in the league, to six hits and one unearned run in seven innings.
Tracy isn’t sure how his rotation is going to shake out as he juggles things around in the wake of lefty Jorge De La Rosa’s season-ending elbow injury.
Aaron Cook made his final rehab start at Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday, surrendering six runs in 7 2-3 innings. Cook, who has been sidelined all season with a broken finger, is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday.
“We still have a little bit more homework we have to do first,” Tracy said when talking about how he’s going to set up his rotation moving forward.
Especially since Nicasio threw a wrinkle into those plans.
“In a good way, he certainly did,” Tracy said. “How could you ignore what we sat here and watched last night?”
NOTES: Rockies OF Seth Smith (groin) entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth and struck out. … The Rockies recalled INF Chris Nelson from Colorado Springs and designated veteran Alfredo Amezaga for assignment. … Wigginton had three of Colorado’s nine hits. … Cardinals OF Matt Holliday was held out of the lineup for a sixth straight game due to left quadriceps tightness.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)