Reds-Cardinals: Good Pitching Powers Redbirds To Extended Division Lead

Brian McDowellCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2009

ST LOUIS, MO - JULY 14:  National League All-Star Ryan Franklin of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

After sweeping the hapless Pirates over the weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals (63-51) continued their streak of dominating teams in the bottom half of the National League Central tonight. The red hot Redbirds barnstormed the Cincinnati Reds (48-63) beating them 4-1.

Kyle Lohse pitched six solid innings for the Cardinals, giving up one run and four hits to a struggling Cincinnati offense.

This was Lohse's best outing since coming back from injury a few weeks ago.

The bullpen also showed up as Blake Hawksworth and Ryan Franklin gave up only one run and no hits in three innings of work. Franklin earned his 27th save of the year. He's currently second in the league in saves.

LaRussa's ballclub managed four runs on only six hits. Brendan Ryan and "crazy" Khallil Greene each hit run-scoring doubles in the sixth inning. Colby Rasmus earned an RBI by being walked with the bases loaded.

Albert Pujols, who continues his quest for the Triple Crown, went 1-for-3 in the game.

The Cardinals didn't need any more offense than they produced in this game. The Reds seemed defeated before they even started the game.

Former Cardinal third baseman, Scott Rolen, due to make his first appearance at Busch Stadium since being traded a year and a half ago, was unable to start after suffering a head injury against the Rockies.

Their starter, the inconsistent Johnny Cueto, had to be pulled out of the game after two innings when he injured his hip trying to run to first base. He was relieved by former Cardinal, Kip Wells, and others whom seemed to find new ways to perform awkwardly.

This was the first of three games between the Cards and the Reds.

With the Cubs losing tonight, the Cards lead increased to three games in the NL Central.

If they keep doing well against the bottom teams, there is no reason that the Cards shouldn't be able to maintain this lead into September, and earn a home playoff series in the first round.