Big inning does in Lohse as Cards fall
Ludwick homers, but Reds' six-run fifth too much to handle
CINCINNATI -- Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse has packed a season's worth of adversity into seven starts.
Among his travails this season are a sore knee resulting from a collision at first base and being struck on the left elbow by a pitch in his previous start.
"It's really frustrating, and annoying," Lohse said. "I haven't had a normal work week between starts since the first two. I want to compete and do my job. But, every start it's something else."
On Saturday night, Lohse endured yet another collision at first base then a five-run sixth inning sparked by a two-run single by Reds pitcher Aaron Harang in an 8-3 loss before a sellout crowd of 40,651 at Great American Ball Park.
Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who've lost two successive games for just the second time this season.
Lohse (3-2), a former Reds hurler, pitched six innings, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits. He walked three and struck out four. He's now 7-7 with a 3.83 ERA in 17 career starts at Great American Ball Park.
"I thought I was rolling there for a while," Lohse said. "I felt pretty in control. They put together quite an inning."
In the fourth, Lohse collided with Reds left fielder Laynce Nix then tumbled to the ground after making a putout at first. Lohse was uninjured on the play.
Harang (3-3) kept the Cardinals at bay for most of the evening, allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
Willy Taveras began the game with a double off Chris Duncan's glove in left, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
Taveras advanced to third on Jerry Hairston Jr.'s sacrifice bunt, but that was made moot when Jay Bruce launched a 3-2 pitch from Lohse into the right-field Sun Deck to put the Reds ahead, 2-0.
The 411-foot homer was Bruce's ninth this season.
"Yadier [Molina] wanted a changeup, but I thought he'd seen a couple of those," Lohse said. "I tried to throw a slider but didn't get it all the way down. He put a good swing on it."
The Cardinals had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in the first two innings but did not score. They had the leadoff batter on in each of the first four frames.
Skip Schumaker doubled off the right-field wall leading off the third.
Harang retired the next two batters. But, just when it appeared the Cardinals might strand yet another runner, Ludwick sent a 3-2 pitch sailing into the left-center-field seats to tie the score at 2.
"We just need to come out and keep swinging the bats and string some runs together," Ludwick said. "Everybody's trying to do their job. We hit some balls pretty well tonight. Some didn't find holes. That's the way it goes sometimes."
Bruce delivered the defensive play of the game when he made a diving grab of Molina's sinking liner in right field in the sixth, then threw to first to double-up Duncan to end the inning.
Cincinnati put the game out of reach in the bottom of the inning.
Consecutive RBI singles by Nix and Ramon Hernandez put the Reds ahead, 4-2.
With two outs, Lohse pitched carefully to Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan, walking him to load the bases for Harang, who was 0-for-13 this season.
But Harang lined a two-run single to left, making the score 6-2.
"It was a terrible pitch," said Lohse. "You're pitching around Hanigan to get to that matchup. I threw him a slider. Anybody's a threat if you throw a pitch down the middle."
Taveras' RBI hit finished off the five-run frame.
The Cardinals scored an unearned run in the seventh, but Cincinnati got the run back when Hairston hit a homer off Dennys Reyes to make the score 8-3.
"They had that one inning where they made things happen," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "[Lohse] made a lot of good pitches. Some of the pitches they hit were good pitches."
Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 for the second consecutive night, after reaching base in his first 28 games. Twice Pujols batted with runners in scoring position and was retired.
"I was trying to go right after him and be aggressive," said Harang. "Good hitters like that feed off of you being timid. I just went right after him and was able to get him out."
After another frustrating loss to begin the six-game road trip, La Russa said Pujols is among the least of the Cardinals' concerns.
"Everyone has a bad day or two," La Russa said. "If you don't, you hit .600. He's had a couple tough days. It happens to everybody."
Jeff Wallner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.