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Cardinals beat Dodgers 3-2 in 15 innings

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[July 30, 2009]  ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Albert Pujols lined an RBI single over the head of center fielder Matt Kemp with two outs in the 15th inning, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and saddling the NL West leaders with their first four-game losing streak of the season.

RestaurantBlake Hawksworth (1-0) allowed two hits and struck out three with an intentional walk in three innings for his first career victory. Jeff Weaver (5-4) worked two perfect innings before running into trouble in the 15th, and the Cardinals squandered Brendan Ryan's leadoff triple before Pujols delivered on a full count.

The Cardinals are 11-2 against the Dodgers at 4-year-old Busch Stadium, and 17-3 at home against Los Angeles since 2004.

The NL West leaders were the last team in the majors to lose three straight, succumbing in their 100th game in a 10-0 loss Tuesday night. The four-game skid is the franchise's worst since they dropped eight straight from Aug. 22-29, 2008, and they have totaled three runs and 33 hits the first three games of a four-game series.


Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw allowed four hits and struck out seven in eight scoreless innings, a career high. He is 5-0 with an 0.79 ERA in his last nine starts.

Manny Ramirez's spectacular leaping catch at the left-field wall prevented a go-ahead extra-base hit by Ryan to end the seventh.

Cardinals starter Joel Pineiro gave up one run and six hits in eight innings.

The Cardinals were down to their last strike before Colby Rasmus' broken-bat, opposite-field RBI single in the ninth off Jonathan Broxton. It ended Broxton's run of 12 consecutive saves, although Rasmus was caught stealing to force extra innings.

Both teams scored in the 11th, the Dodgers getting to All-Star closer Ryan Franklin with two hits and a sacrifice fly by Kemp and the Cardinals answering on Ryan Ludwick's one-out RBI single off Ramon Troncoso before stranding two runners.

Ludwick's strong throw from right field nipped Ramirez at the plate trying to score on Casey Blake's two-out single to end the 12th.

The Cardinals had runners on first and second in the seventh when Ramirez pulled down Ryan's drive, took a few steps back from the wall and tossed the ball into the stands. A fan quickly tossed it back so quickly that many in the sellout crowd believed it was a home run, and Ryan had a puzzled look as he stood on second base as the Dodgers trotted off the field.

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Cardinals manager Tony La Russa stuffed his lineup with all right-handed hitters against the Dodgers' 21-year-old lefty, who is holding left-handed hitters to a .174 average. Ludwick got his first start of the year in center field instead of his usual spot in right and mistimed a diving attempt on Blake's sinking liner to help the Dodgers take the lead.

Blake ended with a triple on a ball that bounced well in front of Ludwick and then over his shoulder to the wall. James Loney followed with an opposite-field single for his team-leading 63rd RBI, one more than Andre Ethier.

NOTES: Pinch-hitter Joe Thurston's one-out double in the 12th was wiped out on appeal because he missed first base. It's at least the second time the Dodgers have won such an appeal play, also negating the go-ahead run in a 3-2 victory over the Mets on May 18 because Ryan Church missed third base. ... Pujols doubled leading off the seventh for only his third extra-base hit since the All-Star break. ... Paid attendance of 40,011 was the Cardinals' 17th sellout. ... Franklin has allowed three runs and seven hits in three innings since the break.

[Associated Press; By R.B. FALLSTROM]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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