Rasmus gets 3 hits as Lohse, Cardinals beat Astros
Houston Astros starting pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith throws during the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday, March 4, 2011, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) By David J. Phillip
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, March 4, 2011, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) By David J. Phillip
St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus catches a fly ball hit by Houston Astros' Angel Sanchez during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Friday, March 4, 2011, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) By David J. Phillip
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Kyle Lohse was almost too efficient for his own good Friday.
The St. Louis starter had to take the mound for a third inning just to get in 41 pitches during the Cardinals' 10-2 win over the Houston Astros.
"My limit was 50, so I didn't even get there," said Lohse, who gave up one run and three hits. "I've had three batting practices where I've thrown 40 pitches each time, so to go out there and do three wasn't that big of a stretch."
Lohse gave up a wind-aided home run to Matt Downs, but got four groundball outs and two strikeouts, all very fast.
"It's the thing you try to do during the season and it's good to do -- go out there and get quick outs," he said. "That comes with throwing strikes early in the count and getting ahead of hitters. Those are the main focal points right now."
Colby Rasmus went 3 for 3, scored twice and stole a base for St. Louis. He improved to 7 for 13 this spring.
Matt Cooper drove in two of the three runs off Houston starter Ryan Rowland-Smith in the second inning. Rasmus led off a two-run third with a double against Brandon Lyon.
Rowland-Smith, a candidate for Houston's No. 5 pitching spot, was one out away from two scoreless innings when he walked Skip Schumaker. Three straight hits followed, producing three runs.
"The results weren't there," Rowland-Smith said, "but outings like that, when you've got to work with runners on base and behind in the count, that's what makes it better at this point of the year. I'll take that."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)