By Ryan Hohman
Kyle Lohse was dominant through seven innings and Carlos Beltran hit his National League leading 17th homerun on Saturday evening against the Cleveland Indians, helping the Cardinals hand the Tribe their first shutout defeat of the 2012 season, 2-0.
Lohse (6-1), who only gave up three hits in seven and two-thirds innings, baffled Cleveland hitters all night by changing speeds and consistently moving the ball around the plate.
On the mound for the Indians, Justin Masterson (2-6) was a horse through seven innings, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out six. His lone mistake came in the fourth inning when he left a slider over the plate to Carlos Beltran who put the ball in the centerfield seats. Beltran was a tough out all night, finishing the game with three hits.
Michael Brantley had two of Cleveland’s three hits to extend his hitting streak to 17 games – the longest active streak in the majors.
Marc Rzepczypnski relieved Lohse in the seventh and only needed one pitch to close the inning. Asdrubal Cabrera, after singling off Lohse, got a great jump to steal second but Yadier Molina threw a perfect strike to second without ever leaving his stance to nail Cabrera.
The Cardinals added an insurance run in the eighth inning off reliever Jeremy Accardo, who came on in relief of Masterson. Shane Robinson welcomed Accardo to the game with a double to right field. Adron Chambers followed with a sac bunt to move Robinson to third before Rafael Furcal brought Robinson home with a sac fly to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Jason Motte pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his 11th save of the season.
The Indians conclude their three-game series in St. Louis tomorrow afternoon at 2:15pm with Ubaldo Jimenez (6-4, 5.31) taking on 24 year old pitching prospect Joe Kelly, who’ll be making his major league debut.
Photo credit: Jeff Curry / Getty Images