LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers gave themselves plenty of opportunities but failed to cash in in a 3-1 loss to the Cardinals on Friday night, failing in their sixth attempt at a four-game winning streak this season.
The difference in the game came down to the Cardinals having a center fielder being able to catch a potential extra-base hit while the Dodgers do not.
A two-out, two-run double by Jhonny Peralta fell between center fielder Scott Van Slyke and right fielder Yasiel Puig in the fifth inning, giving St. Louis a two-run advantage. Hyun-Jin Ryu didn't even look back at first, assuming it would be caught.
"That's a ball that's hard to have good communication, with two guys going full out. It's not like you can camp under it and call it," said manager Don Mattingly. "It was probably a ball Yasiel could have gotten to. Scott's got a better chance, but I think he feels Yasi coming there."
"We were both running full speed, trying to catch it. It looked like we were equidistant to the ball," Van Slyke said. "It's a little bit different if there's nobody else out there."
The Dodgers tried to answer in the sixth inning, with Matt Kemp on first and one out, but Juan Uribe 's line drive to the warning track in right center field was tracked down by Jon Jay, helping to neutralize the threat.
The Dodgers struck first in the second inning, thanks to a walk from A.J. Ellis - who has a .442 on-base percentage in 11 games since his return from the disabled list - and singles by Miguel Rojas and Dee Gordon, the latter plating Ellis from second base for a 1-0 lead.
Yadier Molina tied the score at 1-1 with a home run off the left field foul pole with one out in the fourth inning.
The Dodgers put nine runners on base and chased Carlos Martinez in the fifth inning, but couldn't score more than a single run off the Cardinals' fireballer, making his third start of the season. He exited with runners on first and second base with one out in favor of Seth Maness, who indcuced an inning-ending double play out of Adrian Gonzalez, thanks to some nifty footwork by Peralta at shortstop, to end the frame.
Maness pitched scoreless ball into the seventh inning to pick up the win in relief, his third of the season.
allowed three runs to get hung with the loss, but his seven innings and seven strikeouts were highs for him since May 26, six starts ago.
Van Slyke struck out looking in the sixth inning, then later in the inning was ejected for yelling something from the dugout by home plate umpire and crew chief Bill Miller. It was Van Slyke's first career ejection. Asked if he saw a replay of his called strikeout, Van Slyke said, "I didn't need to. I've seen enough balls off the plate to know. ... It looked far enough off the plate that a guy that's been umpiring umpteen years ought to be able to call it a ball."
Among major league players with at least 100 plate appearances this season, Ellis (20.4 percent) and Van Slyke (19.2 percent) are the top two in walk rate.
Martinez entered Friday 0-for-6 in his career at the plate, with one sacrifice bunt. He got an infield single in the third inning for his first major league hit, then hit a line drive to center field in the fifth for his second hit.
The Dodgers have allowed opposing pitchers to hit .180/.196/.207 this season, the worst batting average and on-base percentage allowed in the National League, and the second-worst slugging percentage and OPS to Colorado.
The Dodgers and Cardinals are back at it again on late Saturday afternoon, a 4:15 p.m. PT exclusive broadcast on big Fox, with Zack Greinke on the mound against Lance Lynn.
Home run: Yadier Molina (7)
WP - Seth Maness (3-2): 2⅓ IP, 1 hits, 2 strikeouts
LP - Hyun-jin Ryu (9-4): 7 IP, 9 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Sv - Trevor Rosenthal (24): 1 IP, 1 walk, 1 strikeout