Cardinals-Red Sox: Late Inning Homers Gives Lohse Sixth Straight Victory

Derek CoffeltSenior Analyst IJune 20, 2008

The Cardinals finally managed to put together enough runs without slugger Albert Pujols in the lineup.

Late inning jacks from Skip Schumaker and Yadier Molina gave the Redbirds a victory over the Red Sox 5-4 on Friday night.

The victory gave pitcher Kyle Lohse his sixth straight winning decision who pitched six quality innings while only giving up one run on six hits. Lohse is quickly becoming the Cardinals best pitcher with a record of 9-2 and supplanting himself as the ace.

With Todd Wellemeyer continually being subsituted for injuries, Lohse is making his own bid for a spot on the All-Star roster.

Despite some shaky defense, Lohse managed to pitch out of a treacherous fifth inning pickle. He managed to strike out Manny Ramirez and forced Mike Lowell to ground out after the Red Sox had loaded the bases. A very solid outing against one of the best offenses in the entire majors.

Skip Schumaker broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh with a two-run blast off of Boston's Tim Wakefield. After Boston closed within a run in the bottom of the seventh, Yadier Molina hit a solo homer to stretch the lead back to two.

This was only the third time the Cardinals managed to score more than three runs in nine games since their leader Albert Pujols was placed on the disabled list. It couldn't have come at a better time after being swept by the Royals.

The Cardinals bullpen was a tale of two stories as Russ Springer induced a double-play from Ramirez and striking out Lowell in the seventh.

Randy Flores, on the other hand, managed to load the bases without recording an out. He was immediately pulled by manager Tony LaRussa and rightfully so.

Despite the sweep by the Royals, the Cubs managed to get swept themselves by the Tampa Bay Rays. With a win by both teams on Friday, the lead in the NL Central remains at 3 1/2 games.

Can the Cardinals capitalize on the Cubs' misforturnes? Or will the sputtering offense for the Cardinals continue to cost them for a divisional crown?

One fact remains clear, the Cardinals NEED Albert Pujols.