Whatever the answer is to the Dodgers' problems, they have yet to find it. The offense continued to struggle on Thursday in a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals that dropped Los Angeles two games behind St. Louis for the second wild card in the National League.
"Our energy has been pretty good. You can fake it all you want, but it's hard to create energy without any runs," said manager Don Mattingly before Thursday night's game. "You end up flat when you don't score, and don't swing the bats well."
Count the flat Dodgers as fizzled on Thursday night.
For the second straight game the Dodgers scored in the first inning, and for the second straight game a double by Adrian Gonzalez did the damage, scoring Mark Ellis on Tuesday night. But for the second straight night they failed to score after the first inning.
The Dodgers have scored three total runs in their last four games, all losses. They have been held scoreless in 34 of their last 36 innings. They have scored 14 total runs in their last eight games, with seven losses and in none of those eight games have the Dodgers scored more than three runs.
On the mound, Lynn cruised along nicely after the first inning tally, and didn't allow a runner to second base until the sixth inning. With two outs and two on in the sixth, Hanley Ramirez hit what he thought was a tie-breaking, three-run home run, but as Ramirez watched the ball fell harmlessly into the glove of a waiting John Jay on the center field warning track.
Paco Rodriguez, pitching in his third major league game, inherited two runners from Beckett with one out in the sixth, and stranded them both. But in the seventh, Rodriguez allowed his first major league baserunner by walking Shane Robinson. After Matt Carpenter singled, Rodriguez was removed in favor of Ronald Belisario. One out later, Allen Craig grounded one through the hole between first and second to score Robinson for a 2-1 St. Louis lead.
Luis Cruz went 0-for-3 to snap his 11-game home hitting streak, but in his final at-bat he reached base on a fielding error. Dee Gordon was brought in to pinch run for Cruz, his second game since returning from the disabled list. With one out Gordon tried to steal second and got a pretty good jump, but a fantastic throw from the incomparable Yadier Molina erased Gordon.
Molina also threw out Matt Kemp trying to steal earlier in the game. The Dodgers have been unsuccessful in their last five stolen base attempts, dating back to Saturday.
The Dodgers had the middle of their order come up in the ninth inning down a run for the second straight night. After Jason Motte retired Kemp and Gonzlaez, Ramirez doubled off the base of the wall for a glimmer of hope. But Motte retired new number six hitter Shane Victorino to end the game rather unceremoniously.
Home Runs: none
WP - Lance Lynn (15-7): 6 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Paco Rodriguez (0-1): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk
Sv - Jason Motte (34): 1 IP, 1 hit