Lohse a close call for All-Star spot

Lohse a close call for All-Star spot

PITTSBURGH -- If there needs to be a replacement on the National League pitching staff for the July 15 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium in New York, NL All-Star skipper Clint Hurdle of the Colorado Rockies might want to consider St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse.

What a pickup Lohse has been for the injury-riddled Cards pitching staff. Lohse won his eighth straight decision and his 11th in 13 games this year by holding Pittsburgh to six hits and no runs over seven innings, as the Cards downed the Bucs, 6-0, on Friday night.

Lohse felt he didn't have his best stuff warming up in the bullpen before the game, but still tossed a beauty.

"This start was the one where I don't know if I'm proudest of it, but I'm happy about the way I went out and performed," Lohse said. "I didn't feel like I had the best stuff warming up, but when you bear down and you make pitches the way I was able to -- you feel really good that you can go out there with that kind of stuff and do it."

Cardinal's manager Tony La Russa doesn't mince words about what Lohse has meant to the Cardinals rotation. "He's a lifesaver," La Russa said. "With the issues that we've had with some of our guys missing starts -- [Adam] Wainwright, [Todd] Wellemeyer missed a couple, [Joel] Pineiro -- his consistency and availability -- that's why we're in decent shape today, or part of the reason."

La Russa felt that Lohse merited consideration for the All-Star team.

"There's no doubt in my mind that he was one of the guys that got to the last cut," La Russa said. "I'm sure he got votes, but look at the guys that are on the staff. [Philadelphia's] Cole Hamels didn't make it and it's just nice depth and quality starting pitching. It would have been nice, though."

Lohse isn't fretting over being left off the All-Star roster.

"Obviously, I'd like to be there, but I'm not," Lohse said. "I'm not going to sit around and pout and cry about it. I'm just going to get recharged and ready for the second half."

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