"This felt like playoff baseball. It really did," said Matheny,
the Cardinals manager. "The past two games (have). The intensity
(and) the caliber of play."
Catcher Yadier Molina homered and shortstop Jhonny Peralta drove in
the go-ahead runs as the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers 3-1 before
48,159 fans at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.
The Cardinals (44-37) bounced back after dropping the opening game
of the four-game set on Thursday night. The Dodgers (45-37), whose
three-game winning streak ended, fell for only the second time in
their last eight home games. Los Angeles hasn't managed to win more
than three games in a row all season, failing in sixth straight
Peralta's drive was the difference for St. Louis.
"A couple of guys put together some good at-bats," Matheny said. "It
came down to Yaddy and Johnny really putting together the blows we
need. That's what these games come down. Today, we got the right hit
at the right time."
Defense and pitching, with some clutch hits sprinkled in, have been
the recipe in the first two games of this meeting between the two
clubs, their first encounter since St. Louis captured last season's
National League Championship Series in six games.
"I think our team defense and pitching have been great in this
series," Molina said. "They've got good pitching over there and also
us. It's like the playoffs. They've got a good team over there, but
we're playing looser."
Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon was 3-for-4 and drove in the
club's lone run.
St. Louis right-hander Carlos Martinez, who was 2-for-2 at the
plate, worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing a run and six hits with four
strikeouts and a walk. He threw 82 pitches (49 strikes) before being
relieved by Seth Maness (3-2), who gave up just one hit in 2 1/3
innings with two strikeouts. Maness also induced first baseman
Adrian Gonzalez to ground into an inning-ending double play in the
"There's some minor things we're going to adjust with him," Matheny
said of Martinez. "Hopefully, we'll start to see some of that
consistency in the zone and that consistent movement because when
he's in a zone, he looks really good."
Relievers Sam Freeman and Pat Neshek combined to blank the Dodgers
for 1 1/3 innings before closer Trevor Rosenthal picked up his 24th
save with a scoreless ninth.
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed three runs and nine hits with
seven strikeouts and a walk in seven innings on 101 pitches (69
strikes). Ryu (9-4) had a string of 17 1/3 innings of not allowing
an earn run by the Cardinals snapped when Molina homered in the
Gordon's RBI single to right gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with one
out in the second inning.
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Molina's solo shot off the left-field foul pole tied the score at 1
with one out in the fourth inning. He jumped on a change-up from Ryu
for his seventh home run of the season.
"I was looking for something down the middle and to drive it,"
Molina said. "I got it."
Peralta gave St. Louis a 3-1 advantage with a two-run double with
two outs to right-center field. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said
he believed Van Slyke had a better shot at catching the game-winner
but pulled up when he saw Puig in close pursuit.
"It's probably a ball Yasiel is not going to get to and Scott's got
a better chance," Mattingly said. "Scott kind of felt like he could
have gotten to it, but I think he feels (Puig) coming there. It ends
up being a hit."
And the difference in the game.
NOTES: Dodgers SS Hanley Ramirez was not in the starting lineup for
the fourth cones cutive game. Ramirez is suffering from irritation
in the AC joint of his right shoulder. Manager Don Mattingly said he
doesn't anticipate putting Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list. ...
Los Angeles OF Scott Van Slyke started in center field to give Andre
Ethier a rest. Ethier, though, replaced Van Slyke, who was ejected
in the bottom of the sixth inning by home plate umpire Bill Miller.
... St. Louis RHP Joe Kelly pitched two innings in a rehab start
Friday night at Triple-A Memphis. Kelly, out since April with a
strained left hamstring, allowed two runs and two hits with three
walks and a strikeout. ... The Cardinals' pitching staff ranked
first in fewest home runs allowed (26) on the road entering Friday's
game. ... Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez got his first major league
hit with an infield single in the third inning.
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