Dodgers-Cardinals: Blue Crew Salvages Series Finale, 5-3, in 10 Innings

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Dodgers-Cardinals: Blue Crew Salvages Series Finale, 5-3, in 10 Innings

The Los Angeles Dodgers managed just three runs during the first three contests to the St. Louis Cardinals, dropping all three and being outscored 19-3.

Interestingly enough, the Dodgers have out hit the Cardinals 33-30 in those three losses, but also have left 35 men on base making the hits a futile effort.

On Thursday night, Hiroki Kuroda took the mound in search of preventing the losing skid from reaching five games; the last time the club lost five in a row was during an eight game losing streak last August.

Following the 15-inning thriller last night it was another back-and-forth game that took extra sets to decide a winner.

Matt Kemp was the hero, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and drove in the game-winning runs to put the Boys in Blue on top for good, 5-3, in the 10th inning.

Casey Blake was also a huge part of the effort, adding a 4-for-5 night with two runs scored.

Kuroda pitched six innings and gave up just two runs, both driven in by Matt Holliday, on four hits but earned a no decision. Hiroki followed up a strong strikeout performance in his last outing, when he recorded nine, with five more tonight while walking zero. He threw just 76 pitches but Joe Torre pinch-hit for him in the seventh inning.

Holliday got the scoring started in the first when he singled and drove in a run offKuroda to put a tally on the board for a 1-0 Redbirds lead.

In the top of the second, the Dodgers (63-39) responded when Blake doubled to deep left center field and advanced to third on a James Loney ground out. Kemp followed and drove in Blake with a two-out line drive single to tie the game at 1-1.

Up until that at-bat, the team was just 4-for-25 with runners in scoring position during the series. They went 4-for-11 tonight and left nine more men on base.

Holliday then pushed the Cards (56-49) in front again when he tagged his first home run since joining the team, a solo shot in the fourth inning, making it a 2-1 game. Holliday appeared to have hit the ball of the end of the bat, but had enough strength to muscle it out of the yard, as it barely carried over the wall in right field.

Holliday has now hit safely in each of the seven games he has played for the Cardinals.

Los Angeles scored two runs in the seventh inning and took the lead. Brad Ausmus singled with one out and Juan Pierre, who hit for Kuroda, rolled an infield single up the middle. He would then come all the way around from first base on a Rafael Furcal two-RBI double, which gave the Blue Crew a 3-2 lead.

As has been the theme since yesterday, the Dodgers relinquished the lead right away when Guillermo Mota came in to relieve Kuroda. He gave up a monstrous solo home run to Rick Ankiel, high into the right field seats, to lead off the inning and tie the game at 3-3.

The Dodgers put the leadoff man on base in the eighth when Blake singled to get things going, but lost him right away when Torre called for a hit-and-run.

James Loney waved at a pitch well off the outside corner in an attempt to protect the not-so-fleet-footed Blake, but it was to no avail as the throw from catcher Yadier Molina was there in plenty of time to tag him out.

Torre then showed some tricky managing in the bottom of the eighth and it all revolved around Ankiel. With a runner on second and no outs, Hong-Chih Kuo came in to clean up the mess that Mota left over. Kuo struck out Ryan Ludwick after a sacrifice bunt and then the madness ensued.

The Dodgers elected to intentionally walk Pujols and Holliday, back-to-back, and face Ankiel with two outs and the bases loaded. The gamble paid off as Kuo fanned Ankiel on three straight fastballs to end the inning without a run crossing the plate.

The game went into extra inning and Kemp came through huge for the team with a clutch two-out, two-RBI single to left field in the 10th. It gave the Dodgers their first multi-run lead of the series at 5-3.

Jonathan Broxton was given the ball just one night after blowing a save with a one-run lead in the ninth inning. He came on in the 10th and walked the leadoff hitter, but retired the next three batters in order to end the game. Broxton got Pujols, last night's hero for the Cards, to tap out to the mound for the final out.

Tomorrow night Los Angeles heads to Atlanta for a three-game weekend series. The Dodgers will send 36-year old Jason Schmidt (1-1, 7.88 ERA) to mound against the Braves 22-year old phenom Tommy Hanson (5-1, 2.95 ERA).



 

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WP: McDonald (3-2)

LP: Reyes (0-2)

SV: Broxton (24)

 

Notes from Thursday night
 

There’s a First for Everything


Last night, the Dodgers lost for the first time this season when leading after eight innings. They are now 49-1 in such games. The Cardinals win also tied the all-time series at 992 wins for the Redbirds and 992 wins for the Blue Crew.


A Lot of Games, and Not Much of a Difference to Show

Despite going just 4-17 in the past 21 games versus the Cardinals, the All-Time series between the Dodgers and Cardinals now sits at 993-992, in favor of Los Angeles.

 

PJ Ross is a Featured Columnist for the Los Angeles Dodgers

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