The Dodgers walked away with a win on Sunday evening at Busch Stadium and avoided the sweep after tensions were at an all time high between the Cardinals and the Dodgers. Flashbacks of the 2013 NLCS came back to me as the Cardinals plunked Hanley Ramirez not once but twice with a pitch after they had already hit Yasiel Puig with a pitch in his hand the day before making him unavailable to play Sunday.
Issues were warned after Kershaw retaliated by hitting Matt “Mothman” Holliday with a pitch in his buttocks, but for some reason warnings don’t mean much since nothing was done when Trevor Rosenthal injured Hanley’s wrist in the eighth inning. Apparently the “Cardinal Way” means one should hit opposing batters and also swipe the ball out of second basemen’s gloves (see the eighth inning).
Karma proved to be strong in this game, and the Dodgers ended up with the victory thanks to a clutch Adrian Gonzalez RBI single in the ninth inning. The game was all locked in and tied 3-3 after Peter Bourjos knocked in two runs on a rare homerun allowed by Kershaw. Kershaw wasn’t as sharp as we have seen him during his dominant stretch, but the home plate umpire was also not giving him any slack on the inside half of the plate.
Dodgers 4 11 0
Cardinals 3 7 0
WP- Howell 2-3
LP- Rosenthal (1-5)
S- Jansen (28)
HR- Bourjos (3)
The Dodgers notch a run in the second as Andre Ethier triples on a hard hit ball to center field. Juan Uribe singles with two outs on a blooper to right field after being jammed on a 97-mph Carlos Martinez fastball. Dodgers take a 1-0 lead. Martinez ends up striking out the side (Kemp, Van Slyke, and Ellis all whiff), but the Dodgers score first.
The Dodger lead is very short-lived as the Cardinals score against Kershaw in the very next inning. Jhonny Peralta singles on a
ground ball to third base, and Allen Craig lines a double to left field. Peralta scores all the way from first, and the game is all tied up 1-1. Kershaw is struggling with his slider a bit in this long inning and not getting that call in the inside corner from the home plate umpire Ed Hickox, but he contains the damage to one run.
Kershaw draws a lead-off walk in the third, and Martinez also walks Hanley Ramirez after Gordon’s groundout advances Kersh to second. Kemp finally comes up with a clutch base hit with runners in scoring position. His base hit to left brings in Kershaw and the second Dodger run of the evening. Ethier comes up with his second hit of the night, a RBI single to center field. The Dodgers take a 3-1 lead as Hanley comes home. Kemp and Ethier being productive reminds me of the good old days!
With a two-run lead behind him, Kershaw strikes out the side in the third as Martinez, Carpenter, and Bourjos all go down on a Kersh curve, fastball, and a slider. That’s a variety pack of pitches I must say.
The Dodgers leave the bases loaded in the fourth. Uribe leads off with a single, but Kershaw bunts into a force out. With Dee Gordon at-bat, Kershaw is off and running and steals his first Major League base! Gordon then proceeds to single on a ball to short. Martinez lets a fastball get away, and he plunks Hanley in the left shoulder. Hanley sits on the ground for awhile before taking first. Why do these St. Louis pitchers always hit Hanley? Adrian Gonzalez flies out to end the inning, and the Dodgers fail to add to their lead.
Kershaw retaliates in the bottom of the fourth by hitting Matt Holliday with a pitch in the butt. Warnings are issued to all sides. Peralta grounds into a double play. Matt Adams singles, but Craig grounds out to end the hostile inning.
Carlos Martinez pitched 4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks on 74 pitches.
The Cardinals tie it up in the sixth on a two-run homerun by Peter Bourjos. The hanging Kershaw slider is given a ride over the left
center field fence, and it’s suddenly 3-3. Matt Kemp makes both a horrible play and a spectacular play within minutes in the inning. Peralta singles to left as Kemp can’t come up with the ball which bounces around in front of him. On the very next play, Kemp makes a diving catch on a softly hit ball to left by Adams. Kemp rolls over after making the fantastic catch for the second out of the inning. Craig strikes out to mercifully end the inning.
Dee Gordon doubles to left field to lead-off the seventh against Shelby Miller. Miller walks Hanley, and Mike Matheny will make a pitching change before Gonzo comes up to bat. Randy Choate, the lefty, will face Gonzo with two runners on and nobody out. Gonzo grounds into a force out, but the Dodgers now have runners at the corners for Kemp. Matheny will make another pitching change, and he brings in Seth Maness. Maness only needs one pitch as he induces a double play from Kemp to end the inning.
Former Dodger Mark Ellis leads off the home half of the seventh with a base hit to left. Tony Cruz sacrifice bunts Ellis over to second. Kersh rears back to strikeout Jon Jay for the second out. With Carpenter at the plate, A.J. Ellis picks off MEllis at second to end the inning!
Seth Maness sets the Dodgers down in order in the eighth.
Clayton Kershaw pitched 7 innings and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 8 strikeouts and 1 walk on 109 pitches.
Brian Wilson will take over for Kersh in the bottom of the eighth. Bourjos singles up the middle with one out. With Holliday at bat, Bourjos swipes second even though A.J. Ellis made a great throw. Bourjos slaps the ball out of Dee’s glove. Wilson will intentionally walk Holliday. Peralta flies out to Kemp in shallow left field. Mattingly will make a patented DonnieSwitch™. Justin Turner will take over at third base for Uribe, and J.P. Howell will come into pitch to Adams. Bourjos steals third as soon as Howell climbs on top the mound. The Cards have the lead run at third. Adams ends up grounding out to first to end the inning! Phew.
A.J. Ellis belly flops into second with a lead-off double for the Dodgers in the top of the ninth off Trevor Rosenthal. Miguel Rojas
will pinch-run for A.J. Justin Turner can’t come through, and he ends up striking out on a Rosenthal changeup. Then Rosenthal proceeds to plunk Hanley again! This time he’s hit on the wrist. Unbelievable. The umpires decide there was no intent even though issues were warned. Don Mattingly is furious. Hanley has to come out of the game. Drew Butera will run for Hanley at first. After the smoke clears, Adrian Gonzalez comes up with a huge RBI single to right field! Rojas brings in the lead run, and it’s 4-3 Dodgers. Kemp strikes out, but the Dodgers have Kenley Jansen on deck for the bottom of the ninth.
Kolten Wong flies out to Ethier in right field for the first out of the ninth. MEllis pops out to Gordon at second. Cruz strikes out swinging, and the Dodgers win a wild one.
The Dodgers improve to 55-45 and move back into a first-place tie with the Giants who lost to Miami on Sunday. Tonight they head to Pittsburgh to play the Bucs for a three game set at PNC Park. Hyun-jin Ryu will face old friend Edinson Volquez on Monday afternoon.