ST. LOUIS (AP) - Throw out the fourth inning, and Kyle Lohse might've been every bit as dominating as Cliff Lee.
No do-overs allowed for the St. Louis Cardinals' right-hander, who matched a season high with eight innings in a 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night. The outing was marred by a sequence of four at_bats in which Lohse allowed homers to Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard.
``It's tough when that one inning gets away from you,' Lohse said. ``And that's pretty much all (Lee) needed.'
Lee threw a six-hitter for his second straight shutout against a team that has totaled two runs on 11 hits in their first two games without injured Albert Pujols, expected to miss six weeks with a fractured left wrist.
``He's arguably the best player in the National League,' Lee said of Pujols. ``He's an obvious threat and anytime he's not in the lineup you feel better about that when you're the opposing pitcher.'
It also didn't help that the Cardinals have faced two of the game's best, with Roy Halladay giving up four hits in six innings on Tuesday.
``I think it's legitimate pitching that's done some good things against us,' manager Tony La Russa said. ``A couple of times, we've had a chance to do more. We could do better.'
Lohse (7-4) allowed three runs on seven hits with no walks or strikeouts. Rollins led off the fourth with his seventh homer and Howard hit a two-run shot and his 16th overall with one out following a single by Chase Utley.
Lohse said he had to alter his strategy because he wasn't getting pitches on the inside corner called for strikes. He retired eight in a row early, and seven in a row from the fourth through sixth.
``It was a weird one,' Lohse said. ``You want to try and pitch them in so you open up that outside corner and I wasn't able to do that.
``But I was able to make the adjustments and keep the ball down for the most part and keep the ball off the barrels.'
Utley added an eighth-inning sacrifice fly for the NL East-leading Phillies, who've won 10 of 12 and will go for a three-game sweep on Thursday with Roy Oswalt facing Chris Carpenter.
Howard, who is from suburban St. Louis, also singled and is a career .374 hitter with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 25 games at Busch Stadium. Both are highs for visiting players at the 6-year-old ballpark and the homer broke a tie with Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder.
Lee (8-5) has won all four of his starts this month, allowing only one run in 33 innings while lowering his ERA from 3.94 to 2.87. The 2008 AL Cy Young winner followed a two-hitter over Florida earlier with his eighth career shutout and has a 23-inning scoreless streak.
``I didn't know how much of a role he's been on, but apparently, he's going pretty good,' Lohse said. ``He had his stuff working. ``
Lee retired 11 in a row between the third and seventh. Only Lohse reached third base after hitting a leadoff double in the third.
``He threw the ball well all night as advertised,' said leadoff man Ryan Theriot, who had a single and walk. ``He threw a lot of strikes. I thought we had a few little chances there, but Cliff's a great pitcher and that's what he does.'
Lee is 6-1 since losing 3-1 at St. Louis on May 16 in which he walked a career-high six in 6 1-3 innings. He opened this game with seven straight balls before settling in, and made a nice leaping stab on Pete Kozma's grounder up the middle to help keep the Cardinals off the board in the third.
NOTES: The Cardinals turned a season-high four double plays. ... It was the longest outing of Lohse's career without a strikeout or walk. ... Both Howard and Rollins have four homers this month. All 16 of Howard's homers are against right-handed pitchers. ... The Phillies' 10-2 victory Tuesday was only the franchise's second in the last 66 years scoring double-digit runs without an extra-base hit. The other time was on Sept. 17, 2005, at Florida. ... Howard is 7 for 16 with two homers and eight RBIs against Lohse. ... Utley has 12 RBIs in the last 10 games. ... Shane Victorino has a 16-game hitting streak against the Cardinals, batting .368 (25 for 68) with four homers and 13 RBIs.
The Associated Press News Service
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