ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kyle Lohse worked into the seventh inning after a week between starts and Albert Pujols followed up a 4-for-4 game with two hits and the go-ahead RBI to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
David Freese had two hits and three RBIs, two of them during a five-run sixth that chased Aaron Cook (2-7). Matt Holliday returned after missing two games with a lower back injury and had an RBI double, while Lohse contributed his first Busch Stadium RBI in nearly two seasons, both in the rally.
Carlos Gonzalez hit his 17th home run for the Rockies, who have lost three in a row while mustering just four runs and are a season-worst 10 games below .500 (55-65). Colorado had only five hits for the second straight game and has scored only one run for Cook in his last three starts.
Lohse (10-7) matched his victory total from the previous two seasons, both of them injury-plagued, and addressed doubts about his current health and durability that in part prompted the Cardinals to give him two extra days of rest. The right-hander allowed a run on four hits in 6 1-3 innings and threw 91 pitches, 17 more than any of his three previous appearances.
Lohse was sent home for tests for inflammation in the middle finger of his pitching hand after his start on July 24 at Pittsburgh and allowed eight runs in eight innings in his previous two starts.
Ace Chris Carpenter jumped ahead of Lohse with regular rest and had a strong eight-inning outing in a 5-2 victory over NL Central-leading Milwaukee on Thursday night. The Brewers led St. Louis by four games entering Friday.
Pujols singled in two of his first three at-bats and his one-hop smash that glanced off second baseman Mark Ellis’ glove made it 2-1 with none out in the sixth. Holliday bounced a double over the head of third baseman Scott Nelson on the next pitch for a two-run cushion and Freese’s two-run single made it 6-1.
Lohse had early success going after hitters, with first-pitch strikes to 11 of the first 12. That stretch was capped by Gonzalez’s homer to straightaway center leading off the fourth to tie it at 1, and the Rockies loaded the bases on two walks and Todd Helton’s double later in the inning before Cook popped out to shallow right.
Cook allowed a season-worst six runs in 5 2-3 innings and is 0-2 in August while surrendering 12 runs in 16 1-3 innings.
Notes: Lohse’s last RBI at home was Aug. 16, 2009, against the Padres. He has two RBIs this season to go with a .143 average (7 for 49). … Holliday is a career .367 hitter (18 for 49) against the Rockies with three homers and seven RBIs. … Freese is batting .390 (23 for 59) with runners in scoring position. … Edgmer Escalona worked 2 1-3 scoreless innings of relief for the Rockies, allowing only a walk. … Helton is batting .435 (10 for 23) against Lohse. … Jason Hammel (6-11) takes the mound for the Rockies on Saturday against the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia (10-5).
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