St. Louis relying on Lohse to deliver in Game

Game 3 starter Matt Cain (right) warms up with Giants teammate Hunter Pence. Cain has struggled with the Cardinals this year, posting a 6.94 ERA.
Game 3 starter Matt Cain (right) warms up with Giants teammate Hunter Pence. Cain has struggled with the Cardinals this year, posting a 6.94 ERA. (JEFF ROBERSON / Associated Press)

3 Cards search for solid start

Posted: October 17, 2012

ST. LOUIS - Kyle Lohse is all about efficiency, about avoiding extended at-bats and letting hitters get themselves out.

The St. Louis Cardinals are in a spot where they could really use that kind of game. When he takes the mound Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants, the 16-game winner can pitch his team into the lead of an NL Championship Series tied at one game apiece.

St. Louis has gone three straight games without a starter getting an out in the fifth inning. Lohse gets a chance to end that troubling trend when he faces Matt Cain in a matchup of 16-game winners.

Marco Scutaro's availability was unclear after he got rammed by the Cardinals' Matt Holliday while busting up a double play on Monday night. A person with knowledge of the injury told the Associated Press that Scutaro strained his left hip.

Scutaro underwent an MRI exam and was due to arrive along with the rest of the Giants later Tuesday. If they deactivate him from the roster, Scutaro would become ineligible for the World Series.

The Cardinals didn't work out Tuesday after a return flight to the Midwest. The exception was a 49-pitch simulated game by Jake Westbrook, who recovered from a strained right oblique and is hopeful of rejoining the staff if St. Louis makes it to the World Series.

After Game 2, Holliday said he relayed an apology of sorts to Giants catcher Busty Posey before his next at-bat.

"I told Buster to tell Marco I wish I had started my slide a step earlier," Holliday said. "I wanted him to know I wasn't trying to hurt him. When a guy has to leave the game, I feel bad."

Holliday also defended his hard-nosed approach.

"When I'm at first and see a grounder to short, I'm just trying to make sure they can't turn the double play," Holliday said. "He was right on second base. I hope he's OK. He's a good guy."

Back at home, where Holliday will get cheers instead of boos, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said what happened is just part of the game.

"To me, what I see is a guy who I've never seen one act of trying to hurt anybody," Matheny said. "And I would never believe that's what he was trying to do. I know what Matt's intentions were and he was thinking about his team at the time."

Lohse needed just 87 pitches to complete a strong seven-inning outing his last time out, a 2-1 loss to the Nationals in Game 4 of the NL division series. In the regular season, in 11 starts he worked six innings or longer and threw fewer than 100 pitches.

Cain was ex-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's choice as the NL All-Star Game starter in July. The righthander hasn't gone deep in either of his postseason starts, giving up six runs in 102/3 innings.

He struggled against the Cardinals this year, too, going 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two starts.

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