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Dodgers feast in the middle innings to beat Cardinals

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There was nothing routine about the Dodgers’ 7-3 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday night. But L.A. feasted on St. Louis in the middle innings to capture the series between playoff hopefuls.

Kenta Maeda looked rusty in his first game back after a forced rest, and allowed three runs in the first inning.

He settled down, but down 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth and with Maeda at 69 pitches, Logan Forsythe was on the on-deck circle to bat for the pitcher, with Hyun-jin Ryu warming in the bullpen, waiting his first major league relief role.

Then things got even more strange.

Yasiel Puig singled home a run to cut the deficit to 3-2, and with two outs and two runners on, manager Dave Roberts called Forsythe back and allowed Maeda to hit for himself. Naturally, Maeda singled inside the third base line to score the tying and go-ahead runs.

Buoyed by his own offensive contribution and by Roberts consulting Biff Tannen’s sports almanac, Maeda remained in the game and pitched a scoreless fifth to qualify for the win.

Ryu eventually did enter the game in relief, and pitched scoreless ball for four innings in his first game ever that he didn’t start. He induced eight ground ball outs and struck out two in a very effective outing.

Ryu closed the game out, and earned the Dodgers’ first four-inning save since Ramon Troncoso on Apr. 25, 2009.

Chris Taylor had three hits in the win, including a double. Kiké Hernandez doubled, singled, and scored two runs, and Chase Utley homered, his first of the season.

Up next

The Dodgers welcome the Cubs to town next, sending Alex Wood to the mound on Friday night to face Jake Arrieta for Chicago.

Thursday particulars

Home run: Chase Utley (1)

WP - Kenta Maeda (4-2): 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

LP - Michael Wacha (2-2): 4+ IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Sv - Hyun-jin Ryu (1): 4 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts