CHICAGO (AP) — Justin Germano hopes a strong finish can earn him the chance to pitch for the Cubs next season.
"I know the opportunity (for 2013) is there but I've got to worry about what I'm doing now," Germano said following the Cubs 6-3 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. "I've had a couple starts where things didn't really go my way and I got into a rough patch."
Kyle Lohse and the short-handed St. Louis Cardinals won for the sixth time in seven games, holding their lead in the NL wild-card race with a 6-3 win Sunday over the Chicago Cubs.
Minus All-Stars Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran from the starting lineup, the Cardinals stayed 2½ games ahead of Milwaukee for the second wild-card spot.
Germano (2-9) worked 5 2-3 innings, giving up four earned runs and 10 hits. Acquired from Boston on July 17 for cash considerations, he's lost seven straight decisions.
"(But) I've had a pretty good year all around," the 29-year-old pitcher said. "I just had four rough starts that I had back-to-back-to-back-to back and I don't want my season to end on that."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Germano's losses don't tell the whole story.
"He does things like today, he keeps you in a game, goes six innings and has a breaking ball and tricks up his sleeve to get through a game," Sveum said. "He's done a nice job for us and keeping the game within grasp."
Lohse (16-3) made his team-leading 32nd start, giving up three runs and five hits in six innings.
"I made a couple mistakes the inning they scored two runs, but it was a pretty solid outing," Lohse said. "I felt I could have executed better to Soriano, obviously, but other than that, I pitched around some things happening. Bottom line is we came out with a win."
Jason Motte earned his sixth save in the Cardinals' last seven games, and now has 40 saves this season.
Molina did not play for the defending World Series champions because of lower back spasms, having hurt himself while getting out of the way of a pitch Saturday. The catcher was feeling better, manager Mike Matheny said, still had some discomfort.
Beltran did not start because of what Matheny believed to be food poisoning. The outfielder had a pinch-hit RBI single during a two-run eighth.