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CIN@MIL: Lohse limits Reds to one earned run

Kyle Lohse had 55 wins in five seasons with the Cardinals, but he has yet to come out on the winning end against them since the team let him walk in free agency this offseason.

Lohse leads the Brewers with 16 quality starts, including five in his last six outings, but on Tuesday must contend with a Cardinals team that has beaten him three times this season.

"They can really swing the bat, and their pitching is really good, their defense is good," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "There's not too many holes on that team."

Since taking the helm in Milwaukee in 2011, Roenicke has admired the Cardinals clutch offense. As a team, St. Louis entered the series batting .329 with runners in scoring position.

"They understand what you need to do with people in scoring position," Roenicke said. "Whether they talk about it as a team and have a philosophy on it, or whether it's just flat personnel, I don't really know. But they really do it right."

The Cardinals, locked in a tight National League Central race, are looking to capitalize on a second straight series against a sub-.500 team. After this three-game set in Milwaukee, the Cardinals host the Braves and Reds in St. Louis before another road trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

"Just show up every day and play hard," said St. Louis outfielder Jon Jay. "Everyone's important, so we've just got to take it one at a time."

The Cardinals will send Lance Lynn to the mound as the right-hander tries to keep pace with teammate Adam Wainwright and Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who lead the NL in wins with 14. Lynn had a string of four consecutive quality starts broken Thursday when he gave up four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Brewers: Thornburg's future uncertain as he moves back to 'pen
After a rough transition back into the bullpen, Tyler Thornburg's future is still cloudy. Thornburg surrendered just one run in 18 innings over three starts, but he struggled in relief Sunday, walking five batters and giving up two earned runs.

"When you're starting, you have a lot of time to get ready, to get your mechanics down, all that time to warm up in the bullpen," Thornburg said. "[On Sunday], I was going fast, trying to get my arm ready, and my arm was ready, but I don't think I was ready mechanically or mentally to go out there."

While the Brewers are trying to determine what role will best suit Thornburg in the long run, the 24-year-old righty has a clear preference.

"I want to be a starter," he said. "I was hoping they liked me as a starter. I don't know where I stand as far as that. It's one of those things, now I'm just trying to pitch as well as possible and see what comes up."

Cardinals: Freese expected back in the lineup Tuesday, Wednesday
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Monday that David Freese, who was out of the lineup Monday, will start Tuesday and Wednesday to end the series in Milwaukee. Although rookie Kolten Wong has cut into Freese's playing time, Matheny said the veteran third baseman has handled the situation as an "absolute pro."

"Everybody around here is watching and acknowledging and admiring," Matheny said. "Hopefully it gets him a little rest and hopefully this will all work out and he gets on a tear a bit. He's handling it as well as anybody possibly could."

Wong made his big league debut Friday and has started three of four games at second base since. When Wong is in the lineup, All-Star second baseman Matt Carpenter shifts over to third, his natural position, bumping Freese to the bench.

Worth noting
• After three days of rest, Cardinals closer Edward Mujica is available for this three-game set in Milwaukee. Mujica tossed two innings in each of his last three appearances, something he had done this season just once in the 48 innings prior. He pitched a scoreless ninth Monday, earning his 32nd save.

"Mike and me have very good communication," Mujica said. "I just talked to Mike Friday and he decided to give me a couple days off and just get ready to go for this series. You know, I'm ready to go today."

• Roenicke said Monday that Brewers All-Star center fielder Carlos Gomez is "ahead of schedule" in his return from a sprained right knee. Roenicke did not rule out using Gomez off the bench against the Cardinals this series. Comments