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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, July 31st (All times eastern)

St. Louis Cardinals (54-48) at Colorado Rockies (37-63), 8:40 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Kyle Lohse (10-2, 2.71) Colorado - Jeff Francis (3-2, 4.97)

(Sports Network) - Kyle Lohse goes after win No. 11 when the St. Louis Cardinals open a three-game set with the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field,.

Lohse has won his last four decisions and has thrown 10 straight quality starts, but did not factor in the decision of his team's win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. He pitched well, though, surrendering two runs and seven hits in seven innings.

He has not lost since June 15 and is 10-2 on the year with a 2.71 ERA.

Lohse beat the Rockies earlier in the year and is 4-3 in 10 starts against them with a 3.38 ERA.

St. Louis enters this series on a sour note after dropping the final two games of their set with the Chicago Cubs over the weekend, culminating with a 4-2 loss in 10 innings on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Carlos Beltran homered in the loss for the Cardinals, who had won four in a row and seven of eight before losing the last two to the Cubs.

Beltran was hitless in his past 13 at-bats before the home run, lowering his season average to .282. He is batting .204 with just 11 hits since the All- Star break, and St. Louis is 8-8 in that stretch.

Colorado, meanwhile, was in the wrong place at the wrong time this past weekend, as it became the latest team in the way of the red-hot Cincinnati Reds.

The Rockies were swept in the three-game set by the streaking Reds and have lost six of seven overall and occupy last place in the NL West.

Tonight, though, they turn to lefty Jeff Francis, who is 3-2 with a 4.97 ERA. Francis beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday, holding them a pair of runs and five hits in six innings.

Francis also beat the Cardinals back on July 3 and is 6-1 lifetime against them with a 3.09 ERA in 11 games (10 starts).

While St. Louis' starters are tied for the NL lead with 44 wins, the Rockies' rotation has managed a league low 18 victories, and the team's ERA of 5.30 is the highest in the majors.

"The pitching is the biggest struggle of my career," manager Jim Tracy said. "But it's not an excuse."

The Cardinals took three out of four from the Rockies earlier in the year, holding them to three runs or less in all four contests.

07/31 10:31:21 ET