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Lohse, bullpen help Cardinals complete sweep of Brewers

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina throws to first to complete a double play after catching a popped up bunt by the Brewers’ Nyjer Morgan during the seventh inning Sunday in St. Louis.
(Tom Gannam ~ Associated Press)
ST. LOUIS -- Kyle Lohse is having a sensational season without much fanfare.

The right-hander pitched six scoreless innings to earn his 12th win, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 on Sunday night for a three-game sweep.

Lohse (12-2) allowed four hits and threw 100 pitches to win his sixth consecutive decision. He struck out six, walked three and lowered his ERA to 2.79.

"I have an idea of what I'm trying to do out there, and I'm just going out and executing the game plan," Lohse said. "It's fun out there to throw strikes and let the defense do its work."

Daniel Descalso had a season-high three hits for the Cardinals, who have won five of their last six and 12 of 16. It was their first three-game sweep at home against the Brewers since March 31 to April 3, 2003.

Milwaukee has lost its last nine road games.

Lohse has recorded quality starts in 11 of his last 12 games. He has emerged as the ERA leader on a talented staff that includes Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook and All-Star Lance Lynn.

Lohse's efforts have gone unnoticed at times, but he doesn't mind flying under the radar. He is not big on publicity.

"I don't play this game for that stuff," Lohse said. "I like the fact that my teammates and my manager appreciate what I am doing."

Lohse has gone at least six innings in his last 12 starts, and this time he got plenty of help from his bullpen.

Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte shut out the Brewers on two hits over the final three innings. Motte earned his 24th save in 28 chances.

"It's a nice feeling to know that if we get to the seventh with the lead, it's going to be held," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.

The Cardinals wore 1982 powder blue replica uniforms to mark the 30th anniversary of their World Series win over Milwaukee. The Brewers were in the American League back then.

St. Louis has won 14 of the last 19 regular-season games between the teams. The Cardinals also beat Milwaukee in last year's NL championship series.

Descalso drove in Jon Jay with a two-strike triple off Marco Estrada (0-5) in the second inning after a one-out walk. Allen Craig pushed the lead to 2-0 with a run-scoring double in the seventh. Craig has 56 RBIs in his last 67 games.

David Freese, who had two hits, brought in Carlos Beltran with a single in the eighth. Beltran doubled off the bag at first base.

Descalso also singled in the fifth and seventh to finish 3 for 4. He struggled earlier in the year but has six hits in his last 10 at-bats to raise his average to .250. He was hitting .197 on May 11.

"I wasn't happy with the way I was playing," Descalso said. "I expected a lot more out of myself. I've been working hard to try and turn it around and relax up there."

The third-place Cardinals moved within seven games of first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central with the series sweep.

"It's still a little early to be checking scoreboards and stuff," Descalso said. "But we've been playing pretty well. It's nice to come home and get three wins."

Estrada turned in one of his best performances of the season but remains winless in 13 starts. He gave up one run and seven hits over six innings.

"I made a couple of mistakes that they hit, but overall I was pretty happy with the way I threw the ball," Estrada said.

The Brewers, who have lost 12 of 16, were 2 for 22 with runners in the scoring position during the series.

Milwaukee loaded the bases in the fourth before Lohse struck out Estrada to end the threat. The Brewers put two on in the third, but Lohse got Ryan Braun to pop out.

"We had a lot of chances with Lohse," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's really good, but we needed a big hit somewhere, and we're just not getting that hit."

Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez went 1 for 4 in his return to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a sore left wrist.

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