For the eighth time since June 22, the Dodgers bounced back after a loss with a win. On Wednesday the Dodgers delivered a knockout blow to the Cardinals in the form of a 13-4 victory at Busch Stadium.
Shelby Miller started for St. Louis but lasted just two pitches. Carl Crawford lined a ball directly off the back of Miller's elbow, that bounced just past third base for a leadoff double.
The quick exit for Miller forced the Cardinals to turn to Michael Blazek to finish the first inning. The Dodgers loaded the bases in the opening frame but to no avail as Skip Schumaker popped out to short center field to end the inning.
Miller was diagnosed with an elbow contusion, and x-rays of his elbow were negative. St. Louis in the second inning handed the ball to Jake Westbrook, who was supposed to start for the Cardinals on Thursday.
Westbrook pitched scoreless innings in relief in both Game 4 and Game 6 of the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals, and last pitched in relief in the regular season in 2004 with seven perfect innings for the Indians against the Tigers.
Wednesday night did not produce the same results for the right-hander.
After Tim Federowicz and Dee Gordon greeted Westbrook with singles to open the second inning, Ricky Nolasco sacrificed Gordon to second base, then Crawford was intentionally walked to load the bases. Jerry Hairston singled in two runs, snapping the Dodgers' 0-for-9 mark with the bases loaded on the road trip.
Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single for another run, then Yasiel Puig walked to load the bases again. A ground out by Andre Ethier scored a fourth run, then Schumaker followed with a two-run single to cap a six-run second inning.
Westbrook pitched into the sixth inning and allowed nine runs on 13 hits, both season highs for one pitcher against the Dodgers. The 13 hits were the second most allowed in relief against the Dodgers since they moved to Los Angeles, with only the 15 hits allowed by Dave LaRoche (father of Adam and Andy) of the Cubs on Aug. 20, 1974. The nine runs were the most allowed in relief against the Dodgers since Eddie Oropesa, mentor of Yasiel Puig, allowed 10 runs for the Diamondbacks on Sept. 9, 2002.
The nine runs gave Nolasco a total of 23 runs of support in his last three starts. Nolasco pitched scoreless ball into the fifth, but the Cardinals capitalized on his throwing error in the fifth with four straight singles to plate three runs.
The Dodgers added four runs in the top of the ninth inning, which ended with backup catcher Rob Johnson striking out relief pitcher Paco Rodriguez, in his first major league plate appearance.
The win moved the Dodgers to 33-8 in their last 41 games, again the best mark for the team since 1953. The Dodgers haven't lost consecutive games since June 20-21 in San Diego, and the win on Wednesday assured they wouldn't lose this series, something they haven't done since June 14-16 in Pittsburgh.
- Crawford was 4-for-5 on the night, his first four-hit game as a Dodger, and stole a base. He has reached base in seven of his last eight plate appearances.
- Puig set a new career high with three walks, and has 12 walks in his last 14 games after seven walks in his first 42 games. Jon Weisman has more on the new Mr. Discipline at Dodger Thoughts.
- Ethier hit his 25th double of the season and also tripled and singled, and drove in four runs to set a new season high.
- Schumaker had three hits and drove in a season-high four runs against his old team.
- Federowicz set a new career high with three hits, and scored twice to tie his career high.
- Gordon, who left Triple-A Albuquerque on a 17-game hitting streak, was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- The 205 pitches seen tonight by Dodgers is their most in nine innings this season. They faced 245 pitches in 14 innings in Arizona on July 10.
- Following the Dodgers' last eight losses, the club is 8-0 and has outscored opponents 43-17 in those games.
- Johnson also pitched a scoreless inning in 2012 with the Mets, and has retired all four batters he has faced as a pitcher. Two have struck out against him, including Eric Thames of the Blue Jays.
Hyun-jin Ryu gets the call for the Dodgers in Thursday night's series finale. Since Westbrook won't be starting Thursday's series finale for St. Louis, the Cardinals might need to turn to Triple-A Memphis for their next starting pitcher. Michael Wacha, who has started three games for the Cardinals this season, last started for Memphis on Sunday so it's unlikely he'd go on three days rest. Carlos Martinez, who was put up a 5.56 ERA in 10 relief appearances over 11⅓ innings earlier this year, is slated to start Thursday for Memphis, so he seems much more likely to get the call-up. Martinez, rated by MLB.com as the No. 33 prospect in baseball and by Baseball America as No. 38 before the season, was 5-2 with a 1.87 ERA in 13 starts between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis this season.
UPDATE: Martinez will be called up by the Cardinals to start Thursday, per Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com.
Home runs: none
WP - Ricky Nolasco (8-9): 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 unearned runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
LP - Jake Westbrook (7-7): 4⅔ IP, 13 hits, 9 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout