The Dodgers managed 16 baserunners tonight -- 11 hits, three walks, two times hit by a pitch -- in a game started by the Cardinals' ace, Chris Carpenter, yet could only bring one run home, and fell to the Cardinals 6-1 in the first game of a four-game series at Busch Stadium III. The Dodgers were done in by four double plays, as well as having only one hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, were able to amass three hits in eight at-bats with RISP, including four runs in the seventh inning off three Dodger relievers. Five of the six Cardinal runs were scored with two outs.
The Cardinals led basically the whole game, but it was a close contest until two pivotal pitches in the seventh inning. Down 2-1 with Rafael Furcal on first base and one out, Orlando Hudson grounded into an inning-ending double play, leaving Manny Ramirez in the on-deck circle. After the commercial break, the very next pitch -- James McDonald's first of the game -- was driven over the centerfield wall by Mark DeRosa to push the Redbirds' lead to 3-1. According to Fangraphs, the Cardinals win expectancy jumped from 68.5% before the Hudson at-bat to 88.5% after the DeRosa dinger.
Randy Wolf took the loss for the Dodgers, even though he had another solid performance, allowing two runs in his six innings. Wolf has pitched at least six innings in 18 of his 22 starts.
Chris Carpenter, pitching out of jams all evening, was able to pitch seven strong innings, picking up his ninth win on the year. Carpenter, who has battled injuries at times this year, now has enough innings (106.2) to qualify for the ERA title, and currently his 2.19 ERA is running second to the amazing Dan Haren and his quiet 2.14 ERA in Arizona.
Every Dodger starting non-pitcher got at least one hit, and were led by Rafael Furcal's three hits and Russell Martin's two knocks. That is a good sign, getting production from our two worst hitters to this point in the season.
Another silver lining was the return of Hong-Chih Kuo, who pitched a perfect eight inning in his first major league outing since April 29. According to MLB Gameday, Kuo threw five fastballs that registered at 93, 93, 94, 95, and 95 mph (in no particular order). Its nice to have last year's Setup Man of the Year back.
Tonight was just the 12th game in LA Dodger history in which the Dodgers had at least 16 men on base while scoring one run or fewer.
Interesting note: there have been 15 HBP in the last seven Dodger games.
Chad Billingsley faces Adam Wainwright in a marquee matchup Tuesday night, as the Dodgers attempt to avoid their first three-game losing streak on the season.
WP - Chris Carpenter (9-3): 7 IP, 9 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
LP - Randy Wolf (5-5): 6 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Sv - Ryan Franklin (23): 1.1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout