Dodgers-Cardinals Preview

It’s been 17 years since the Los Angeles Dodgers swept a

three-game series in St. Louis.

Based on how well Hiroki Kuroda has pitched and how poorly the

Cardinals have played of late, the Dodgers appear to be in good

position to finally do it again.

Kuroda looks to win his third consecutive start Wednesday when

he faces the reeling Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

After rallying for two runs in the ninth to win 2-1 on Monday,

Los Angeles (59-69) scored eight times in the first three innings

en route to a 13-2 rout of St. Louis on Tuesday.

“The run support, that’s awesome,” said Clayton Kershaw, whose

16th win tied him for the NL lead. “You don’t want to take those

nights for granted.”

It was the first time since July 9-10, 2003, the Dodgers won two

straight at St. Louis. They have not swept a three-game set there

since Aug. 20-22, 1993.

The Cardinals (67-62), meanwhile, have lost nine of 14 to fall

10 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

“We’re just trying to stay positive,” said outfielder Allen

Craig, who had two hits.

The Dodgers will try to build on their second-highest scoring

game of the season and provide another offensive night for Kuroda

(9-14, 2.88 ERA).

The right-hander allowed two runs in six innings of an 8-2 win

at Colorado on Friday. Kuroda, who has received an average 3.67

runs of support this season, won a game where he allowed one or two

runs for the first time since April 24. Those are the only two he

has yielded in 13 innings of his last two outings while the Dodgers

have totaled 15 runs in those contests.

“To come out here and get some victories and have a lot of runs,

where he could go out there and do his thing, I’m sure it was nice

for him and I know we enjoyed doing it for him,” outfielder Tony

Gwynn said.

Though Kuroda allowed six runs in five innings of a 9-5 home

loss to the Cardinals on April 14, he has a 2.25 ERA while going

0-1 in two starts at Busch Stadium.

Matt Kemp and Rod Barajas look to help back Kuroda after they

combined to hit three of the Dodgers’ season-high four home runs

Tuesday.

Batting .364 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in his last 29

games, Kemp needs one homer to become the second player in

franchise history with 30 homers and 30 steals. Barajas, who

homered twice Tuesday, has four with 10 RBIs while going 9 for 17

in his last five contests.

Kemp is 12 for 25 with three home runs and nine RBIs versus St.

Louis this season and 3 for 5 against scheduled starter Jaime

Garcia (10-6, 3.45).

The left-hander is 0-2 with a 5.60 ERA in five starts since

winning at Pittsburgh on July 23. He gave up three runs in 6 1-3

innings of a 5-4, 10-inning loss at Chicago on Friday. Garcia

allowed three runs in five innings against Kuroda in April to

improve to 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA in two starts versus Los

Angeles.

Matt Holliday went 1 for 3 in his return to the lineup after

leaving Monday’s game after an insect flew deep into his ear.

“He died overflowed of wisdom being inside my head,” Holliday

joked.

Holliday remains upbeat despite being mired in a 7-for-35 slump.

However, he’s 10 for 23 with six doubles and a homer versus

Kuroda.