St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Thursday, April 21, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Holliday hits a two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Thursday, April 21, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday, April 21, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Kyle Lohse threw a career-best two-hitter and Matt Holliday kept his average near .500 with a two-run homer and single as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 5-0 on Thursday. Albert Pujols added a two-run homer off Collin Balester in a three-run eighth for the Cardinals. St. Louis took two of three from the Nationals and has won eight of 11 overall. The Nationals are 4-14 at 6-year-old Busch Stadium. The combined Expos/Nationals franchise has won only two of 16 series in St. Louis dating to 1997.
Lohse (3-1) struck out six and walked two in his eighth career complete game and sixth shutout, both accomplished last on April 12, 2009, with a three-hitter against Houston.
Lohse has worked at least seven innings in all four starts, moving past a pair of seasons when he was hindered by a forearm injury that required surgery last May, going a combined 10-18 in 2009-10.
Tom Gorzelanny (0-2) kept going the Nationals' run of five-inning starts in every game, but had to work for it. The left-hander walked a batter in each of his first four innings and needed 108 pitches to get through five but was hurt only by Holliday's second homer with two outs in the first.
Pujols walked with two outs ahead of Holliday's drive into the Washington bullpen in left on an 0-2 pitch. Holliday is batting .455, although he doesn't yet have enough plate appearances to qualify for the league leaders after missing seven games in early April following an appendectomy.
Holliday is 7 for 12 with runners in scoring position, a huge change from the start to his first season in St. Louis. Holliday batted .312 with 28 homers and 103 RBIs last year -- in mid-June, he was sixth on the team with only 25 RBIs and batting below .200 with runners in scoring position.
Lohse retired 11 in a row to start the game before running into his only trouble when Jayson Werth singled and Adam LaRoche walked with two outs in the fourth, giving the Nationals their lone runner in scoring position. Mike Morse singled leading off the fifth before being erased in a double play and Lohse set down 10 of the last 11.
Pujols hit his sixth homer in the eighth after Colby Rasmus drew a leadoff walk, and David Freese added an RBI double.
NOTES: Pujols grounded into his eighth double play in the third, most in the National League. He entered tied for first in the majors. ... Gorzelanny has surrendered four homers in 15 2-3 innings. ... The Cardinals have used 17 different lineups in 19 games.
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