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Dodgers lineup starts strong in finale with Cardinals

Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers go for a split of their four-game weekend series against the Cardinals, and Adrian Gonzalez returns to the starting lineup for the series finale.

The Dodgers start off with Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig and Gonzalez as their first three batters, arguably the best top three of any lineup in baseball. This is the first game all three have been bunched together in the lineup, and just the 11th time all three have been in the same starting lineup.

Puig is 4-for-9 (.444) with three walks against Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, while Gonzalez is 4-for-14 (.286) with two doubles and two walks.

Matt Carpenter is back for the Cardinals after leaving Saturday's game in the fifth inning with a right triceps contusion. He's 7-for-20 (.350) with two doubles, a home run and three walks against Zack Greinke, starting for the Dodgers.

Howie Kendrick took ground balls and went through batting practice for the Dodgers before Sunday's game. Manager Don Mattingly said the plan is for Kendrick to start on Monday night.

"Last night he was available to pinch hit. We could have doubled him in in an emergency, but didn't really want to. We'd like to stay away from him today if we can, but we'll see," Mattingly said. "We're not going to throw Howie back in there until we feel pretty comfortable he's going to be able to know. Not playing one day, then have a setback that sets him back two or three days."