– Kyle Lohse did not give up a hit until the seventh inning Wednesday and carried St. Louis to a 4-1 win over Miami in baseball’s North American season opener.
Lohse, who gave up less than a hit an inning while compiling a 14-8 record in 30 starts last year, came through with an overwhelming performance as the Cardinals opened defense of their World Series title.
The game was the first regular-season contest played in Miami’s new ball park, and the dramatic opening night also featured an appearance by boxing icon Muhammad Ali in the first-pitch ceremony.
Ali, whose disability due to Parkinson’s disease prevents him from throwing a baseball, was driven to the mound in a golf cart prior to the game and he handed the ball to Miami third baseman Hanley Ramirez.
It has been 16 years since the former heavyweight champion, already suffering from the disease, ignited the Olympic flame during the opening ceremonies of the Atlanta Games.
Lohse had a no-hitter working until Jose Reyes singled to right leading off the seventh. Lohse eventually allowed a run on two hits over 7 1/3 innings.
Jason Motte, beginning his fifth season with the Cardinals, worked the ninth for his first career save.
David Freese singled in two runs in the first inning and Rafael Furcal had an RBI base hit in the second to support Lohse. Freese scored the final St. Louis run in the eighth on a groundout by Daniel Descalso.
Josh Johnson gave up three runs on 10 hits in six innings to take the loss.