Dodgers win 15th in a row on road, 3-2 over Cards

Adam Wainwright lacked ace stuff again, falling behind in the
count and battling to get outs. Facing the visitors no one likes to
see these days, he again took the St. Louis Cardinals deep into the
game but missed a third straight chance to take the National League
lead in wins.

”I wouldn’t say I’m in a lull by any means,” Wainwright said
after the Los Angeles Dodgers won 3-2 for their 15th straight road
victory Monday night. ”I feel great, there’s no reason not to be
winning games.

”A play here, a play there has not been going my way.”

Manager Mike Matheny was unhappy and terse about Carlos
Beltran’s first sacrifice bunt of the season after the first two
runners reached safely in the seventh.

”Sometimes we put them on, sometimes we do it on our own,”
Matheny said. ”A lot of things could have happened differently for
us, a lot of little things could have changed the game but didn’t,
and now we move on.”

Zack Greinke pitched into the seventh inning and raised his
batting average to .405 with an RBI single for the Dodgers.

Wainwright (13-7) is tied for the league lead with teammate
Lance Lynn and is 0-2 in his last three starts although he’s worked
at least seven innings in all three.

”It didn’t have the zip on it maybe a little bit, but I was
still able to make some good pitches,” Wainwright said. ”I mean,
I’m tired of tipping the hat, but you’ve got to tip your hat.”

Wainwright had retired eight in a row before Nick Punto doubled
to the opposite-field in left with two outs in the seventh and
Greinke lofted a single on a tough curveball that made it 3-1.

”I can’t remember the last time a pitcher hit that for a hit,
much less an RBI hit,” Wainwright said. ”That’s not the pitch of
the inning that really gets me. A double to Punto on a bad pitch,
middle of the plate, that cost us.”

Punto was productive subbing for injured shortstop Hanley
Ramirez and the Dodgers got an RBI apiece from Andre Ethier and
A.J. Ellis while matching the Cincinnati Reds’ 15-game run in 1957.
They’re two wins shy of the NL record set by the 1916 New York
Giants.

Greinke (9-3) allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings for his 100th
career victory, allowing two hits in the third, fourth and fifth
but no runs. Paco Rodriguez earned his second career save with a
perfect ninth.

Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig had an RBI apiece for the
Cardinals, stifled in the opener of a 10-game homestand after
totaling 44 runs the previous four games. They’ve lost nine of 12
overall.

Punto’s relay to the plate preserved a one-run lead in the fifth
and denied David Freese of an RBI double, and he made nice
defensive plays to end the seventh and eighth.

Matt Carpenter doubled off the right-field wall in the first and
took third when Yasiel Puig fumbled the ball, then sprinted home on
Beltran’s groundout when Punto sailed a throw over catcher A.J.
Ellis’ head.

Running shoe-top catches by Puig in right field and Ethier in
center helped Greinke strand three Cardinals in a scoreless third.
St. Louis came up empty again in the fourth after opening with
singles by Jon Jay and Tony Cruz, and Punto’s relay in the fifth
caught Allen Craig at the plate on Freese’s double to right.

The first three Dodgers reached in the fourth, with Adrian
Gonzalez stopping at third on Puig’s double off the right-field
wall and then scoring on Ethier’s broken-bat single. Puig scored
the go-ahead run when Ellis beat the relay on a potential
double-play ball.

NOTES: Major league ERA leader Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 1.87)
faces Cardinals fifth starter Joe Kelly (2-3, 3.10) on Tuesday.
Kershaw was the NL pitcher of the month in July going 4-1 with a
1.34 ERA, while Kelly has thrown 14 2-3 consecutive scoreless
innings for the Cardinals in a bid to become more than just an
occasional fifth starter. … The Dodgers are 8-1 in Greinke’s last
nine starts.