Coming off of a rough start last week, Kyle Lohse returned to his All-Star like form on Monday. Behind his seven strong innings, the Cardinals defeated the Mets 7-1 as Lohse earned his tenth victory of the season.
The young right-hander fanned four batters while allowing only one unearned run and said he felt like his old self.
"It feels good; I feel like I've been on a roll," Lohse said. "It was good to bounce back tonight and get back on track."
Lohse is now tied for the fourth most wins in the majors and is leading the Cardinals rotation that leads the majors in winning percentage with .678.
Obvious numbers that should warrant an All-Star bid.
Manager Tony La Russa agreed that his first-half ace should be in the summer classic.
"I think he deserves as much consideration as anyone else out there," La Russa said. "Everything he has done is legitimate."
Despite the slump the New York Mets have been in recently, the Redbirds showed no mercy as the Cardinals managed ten hits. With Albert Pujols, Troy Glaus, and Aaron Miles all having a multi-hit game, the Cardinals continued to heat up as the month of June came to a close.
Maybe it was Pujols' return finally solidifying the Redbirds lineup, but the St. Louis offense scored in each of the first five innings. The offense was not only sustained but it was once again opportunistic as the Cardinals gained two more runs on three errors by the Mets.
A Chris Duncan citing was seen in the fourth inning as he hit his first round-tripper since May 16. The homer just got over the right field wall as the Cardinals utility man held his breathe as he watched the fly ball.
"I was hoping it would go out -- it was a close one," Duncan said. "It's a good thing it went over, and it felt good."
A very good sign for the Cardinals as the offense was not confined to Pujols or Glaus. St. Louis needs Duncan to step up in the second half to sustain that offense to overtake the Cubs and keep a lead in the NL Central.
In his first ever relief appearance, Mark Mulder pitched a scoreless inning in the ninth. He allowed a couple hits but pitched out of a jam, which is one of the best signs for a Cardinals bullpen that has been devastated with injuries. As the Cardinals continue to edge closer to the Cubs, Mulder's experience on the mound becomes that much more evident.
With their bullpen allowing teams to come back into games and win them in recent weeks, Mulder's presence on the mound could prove to be the difference.