Thus far, Hanley Ramirez hasn’t helped the Los Angeles Dodgers gain any wins.
St. Louis had a season-high 18 hits, including three apiece from David Freese and Matt Carpenter, and beat the Dodgers for the second straight game since the Ramirez trade, 7-4 Thursday.
”He definitely makes their lineup that much tougher,” Jake Westbrook said. ”So, it’s good to get a couple wins with him in there It says a lot about our team, how we came back after losing the first one and winning three straight.”
Obtained a day earlier from Miami, Ramirez started at third base and batted fifth for the second straight game. He had an infield hit, two walks and a steal, and grounded into a double play. The 2009 NL batting champion is 2 for 6 with three walks and an RBI with his new team, which has lost three in a row overall after a five-game winning streak.
Before dropping the last three, the Dodgers had won eight in a row in the series. They head to San Francisco for a three-game series against the Giants, with a callup to be determined opposing All-Star game starter Matt Cain on Friday night.
”It seems like the momentum we had kind of shifted the other way on us,” catcher Matt Treanor said. ”I think we’re looking forward to leaving town and get fired up for the Giants.”
David Freese and Matt Carpenter and Matt Carpenter had three hits each and Matt Holliday hit his 17th homer, his third on a 6-1 homestand.
St. Louis fell behind 4-2 by allowing four runs in the fifth and then scored four in the bottom half. Allen Craig and Tony Cruz each had two hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, who entered six games back in the NL Central.
All week, manager Mike Matheny said he didn’t care about the standings. Only about the way the Cardinals played.
Freese left the game with cramping in his right calf for a pinch hitter in the sixth, an inning after getting a bit of medical attention following a two-run single for the go-ahead hit. He was 11 for 20 on the homestand.
Matt Kemp had an infield hit and was 2 for 16 with seven strikeouts and no RBIs in the series. Manager Don Mattingly believed it was simply a matter of tough matchups for his No. 3 hitter.
Though he faced Jake Westbrook for the first time, Kemp is 2 for 17 against Adam Wainwright and 4 for 17 against Kyle Lohse, but with a homer and five RBIs.
”Well, I mean there’s other guys in the lineup,” Dodgers manager Don Mattinglly said. ”Obviously, you like your chances better if Matt’s going 8 for 16 with five homers or something, but Matt’s going to have his troubles.”
Westbrook (9-8) allowed four runs – three earned – and seven hits in seven inning with six strikeouts. The right-hander, who pitched at least seven innings for the third straight start, responded from the Dodgers’ four-run fifth, allowing a hit and walk his last two innings.
”I felt really I only made one bad pitch, but it kind of snowballed on me there quick,” Westbrook said. ”I was able to settle down and our offense came right back.”
Mitchell Boggs allowed a hit in the eighth to give him 14 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings, a season best for the team and Jason Motte struck out the side against three pinch hitters in the ninth for his 22nd save in 26 chances.
In his last nine appearances Motte hasn’t allowed a run with seven saves, 12 strikeouts and no walks in 10 1-3 innings.
”When these guys are hitting, which we all know they can do, and our pitchers are going out there and executing our pitches, this what we’re capable of doing,” Motte said. ”It’s fun to watch.”
Chris Capuano (10-6) gave up six runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings, dropping to 0-4 with a 7.90 ERA at 7-year-old Busch Stadium. He gave up two hits the first three innings but retired only three of his last 12 batters.
”Coming out in the fifth I was trying to tell myself `Hey, this is a big inning here, try to shut them down,”’ Capuano said. ”Especially after we scored for that runs. I just for whatever reason got a little sloppy with my location.”
Given a 2-0 lead, Westbrook had thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings and had struck out four in a row before the Dodgers opened the fifth with four singles in five pitches, taking the lead on RBI hits by Juan Rivera and Cruz.
A third run scored on Matt Treanor’s infield hit when second baseman Daniel Descalso relayed to third after cutting off the ball, and Freese made an error with wild throw to the plate in an attempt to catch Rivera.
Capuano contributed his third RBI of the year with a sacrifice fly that made it 4-2 with two outs.
St. Louis went ahead in the bottom half on Freese’s hit and RBI singles by Craig and Luis Cruz. Holliday homered to straightaway center off Javy Guerra in the sixth.
NOTES:(at) RF Andre Ethier turned a nice double play to avoid further damage in the Cardinals’ two-run second when he caught Westbrook’s sinking liner and then threw to the plate just in time for Treanor’s tag on Carpenter. … Lance Lynn (12-4, 3.10) is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in four career appearances against the Cubs heading into Friday’s start in Chicago. … Lance Berkman missed his second straight start with a bruised right knee but could return Friday. … Tyler Greene singled in the seventh for his first pinch hit in 13 at-bats this year. … Carpenter was 3 for 5 after going just 2 for 13 the first six games of the homestand.