Lohse's strong effort in duel for naught

Lohse's strong effort in duel for naught

Lohse's strong effort in duel for naught
PHILADELPHIA -- Hindsight being what it is, maybe 101 pitches weren't the maximum that Kyle Lohse could have thrown on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Reliever Barret Browning surrendered a two-run home run to Chase Utley, and it was more than enough as the Cardinals lost the opener of a three-game set in Philadelphia, 3-1, to the Phillies and Roy Halladay. On a night both starting pitchers dominated the opposing offense, it was the Cardinals' bullpen and not the beleaguered Phillies contingent that wasted its starter's effort.

"I always feel that I work hard in between starts so that I can go as long as need be," Lohse said. "But I'm not going to question [manager Mike Matheny]. Whenever he takes me out, as long as I did my job, as long as I kept us in the game, that's all I can do."

Browning, who came in for Lohse after he was pinch-hit for in the top half of the inning, gave up a leadoff single to Jimmy Rollins. Rollins moved to second on a balk and to third on a sacrifice bunt by Juan Pierre. Utley followed with his eighth home run of the year to give the Phillies a two-run lead.

"We go to the [reliever] we like in that situation," Matheny said. "It was Browning tonight, and it just didn't work out."

The Cardinals did make things interesting in the ninth off of Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. With one out, Allen Craig doubled into right-center field. After Matt Holliday lined out to left, Carlos Beltran followed with a lined single into right and Craig advanced to third.

Papelbon, as is the case with most closers, has at best an average move to first and is slow to home plate. With that in mind, Beltran, even with two outs, saw an opportunity to move into scoring position.

"On that play right there, after he went home on a couple of pitches, he was doing 1.6, 1.5 [seconds to the plate]," Beltran said. "I just got a little bit anxious and went first move instead of just letting him go."

Papelbon did not go to the plate and his throw to Rollins at second was in time to get Beltran for the third out of the inning to end the game.

"He picked up his leg, I thought to go home and he didn't and made a pickoff move on me," Beltran said. "What can I say? There is no guarantee that we are going to win that game. You just can't let a game end like that."

"He got thrown out," Matheny said. "That's what went awry.

"[Papelbon] made a first-to-third move, and he was running and got thrown out at second base. That's all there is to it."

The Cardinals opened the scoring in the second as Beltran hit Halladay's first offering into the right-field stands for a 1-0 lead. It was the 28th home run of the year for Beltran and his 11th in 60 games at Citizens Bank Park.

The lead did not last long as Lohse allowed a leadoff double to Ryan Howard in the bottom half of the second. Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown followed with a sharp grounder between first and second. Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso went to his left and made a dive for the ball to no avail and Howard, still working his way back from surgery to repair his left Achilles that he injured on the final play of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals last October, scored to tie the game at 1.

Lohse, who threw 22 pitches in the inning, settled down and left Brown stranded at second as he struck out Halladay four batters later.

Lohse went seven innings, in which he allowed just one earned run and struck out seven, but his pitch count reached 101 after seven innings and with his spot up third in the bottom half of the inning, his night was over with a no-decision.

"Great start by Lohse tonight, it's a shame," Matheny said. "Everything was working tonight. He faced off against Halladay, throwing the ball well, too. He gave us seven solid innings and he did all that we could ask for him to do."

Meanwhile, the Cardinals failed to mount any type of offense against Halladay, who has seemingly returned to form over his last two starts in which he has allowed just one run in 15 innings. On Friday night, Halladay allowed just one run on two hits with eight strikeouts in eight innings.

"[Halladay] had a good changeup himself," Matheny said. "He hit both sides of the plate well with balls with sink. It's like the Halladay we've seen too many times."

Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.