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Miller outshines returning Lohse, Cardinals down Brewers

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Associated Press
4/12/2013 11:01:36 PM
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ST. LOUIS -- Shelby Miller's lone regret is it took a lot of work to send Milwaukee Brewers hitters trudging back to the dugout.

The 22-year-old rookie allowed one hit in seven innings, a single by Norichika Aoki to open the game, and the St. Louis Cardinals had just enough to spoil Kyle Lohse's first start as a visitor since 2007 in a 2-0 victory on Friday night.

"He was impressive," closer Mitchell Boggs said. "He's been impressive since he got to St. Louis, so I don't think anybody's surprised by what he's doing."

Miller, a first-round draft pick in 2009, has worked 13 scoreless innings in two career starts at Busch Stadium. Faster outs, Miller reasoned after throwing 113 pitches, and he might have gone the distance against Milwaukee.

"They were battling me all night, they weren't giving in at all," Miller said. "At the end of the day I found a way to get them out.

"It was usually seven pitches later, but as long as I'm getting them out I guess that's all that matters."

Miller didn't trick the Brewers, held to two hits overall and shut out for the first time this season. He just overpowered them.

"They were trying to catch up with it," manager Ron Roenicke said. "After the first time through, it wasn't like he was surprising them. They just weren't catching up to it."

A near-sellout crowd of 42,528 bundled up on 44-degree night for the second Stan Musial tribute of the opening homestand, featuring a harmonica giveaway and the unveiling of a memorial plaque attached to the iconic Musial statue outside Busch Stadium. Seven members of the Musial family threw simultaneous first pitches and Musial's No. 6 was cut into the outfield grass in centre.

David Freese had an RBI single at the end of a three-hit flurry to open the second and Yadier Molina hit his second homer in the seventh for the Cardinals, who have allowed one run during a three-game winning streak.

Lohse, a 16-game winner whom the Cardinals did not attempt to re-sign, allowed two runs in seven innings while throwing 82 pitches -- 31 fewer than Miller needed. He received a nice ovation before his first at-bat leading off the third, with hundreds of fans standing.

"It was pretty cool," Lohse said. "I felt like I did my thing here and it was appreciated."

Miller (2-0) had a career-best eight strikeouts in his third career start, one more than he had in his debut against the Reds in the 2012 regular-season finale. He retired his final 17 in order after hitting Alex Gonzalez with one out in the second, and fanned Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez twice each.

Lohse (0-1) pulled a nice escape in the second, holding the Cardinals to one run after giving up three straight hits. He allowed one hit the next four innings before Molina homered with one out in the seventh.

He's still rounding into form after signing a three-year, $33 million free agent deal on March 25, and facing the Cardinals posed an additional challenge.

"I didn't get ahead of as many guys because I was trying to be really careful knowing that they know me," Lohse said. "I didn't want to groove any first-pitch fastballs or anything."

Lohse, who is 30-18 with a 3.39 ERA at Busch Stadium, made his first start in St. Louis in an opposition uniform since a 5-1 win for the Reds on June 7, 2007.

Trevor Rosenthal retired the side in order in the eighth and Boggs stranded two runners in the ninth, striking out Braun and Rickie Weeks to earn his second save in four chances to wind up a game played in 2 hours, 15 minutes.

"I take a lot of pride in what I do," Boggs said. "That was a big one for me and a little emotion shows."

Carlos Beltran led off the first with a broken-bat single that gave him a .575 average (23 for 40) against Lohse, and the Cardinals had runners on second and third after Braun, leaving his feet at the last second on a running attempt, couldn't hang onto Molina's double to the gap to left-centre. Freese singled up the middle on the next pitch to put St. Louis ahead, but Lohse got eighth-place hitter Pete Kozma on a called third strike and Miller grounded into a double play.

NOTES: Aoki is 12 for 25 during a six-game hitting streak. ... Cardinals rookie Matt Adams, the backup first baseman, was on the bench despite his .643 average. "He's done a nice job for them," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before the game. "Hopefully, he's not in there a lot." ... The Brewers Alex Gonzalez got hit by a pitch on the left hand in the second and was taken out the next inning. X-rays were negative.

Shelby Miller (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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