Ozuna, Mikolas spark Cardinals to win over Dodgers

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              St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) throws during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, April 8, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Miles Mikolas sent a message against the Dodgers: Crowd the plate at your own risk.

Mikolas pitched six solid innings despite hitting three batters, Marcell Ozuna homered and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied for a 4-3 victory on Monday night, ending Los Angeles‘ five-game winning streak.

Mikolas, who allowed three runs on five hits, had never hit more than one batter in a game and now has 17 in his career.

“They got a lot of guys who are pretty close to the dish. You could tell that none of them were intentional,” Mikolas said. “I like to throw inside. It’s assumed risk I guess. I’m not going let a couple of hit batters force me to pitch back out over the plate.

“I led our league in hit batters my last year in Japan.”

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt approves of Mikolas’ approach.

“One thing we appreciate about Miles, among many things, is the fact that he throws inside,” Shildt said. “He can throw inside for strikes. He not trying to hit anyone. He just grazed a few guys.”

An All-Star and 18-game winner last season, Mikolas signed a $68 million, four-year contract extension in February that raised his pay to $75.5 million over the next five seasons.

After losing the season opener and not getting a decision in his second start, Mikolas was happy to pick up his first win.

“Kind of getting that monkey off your back against a team as hot as the Dodgers felt good,” Mikolas said. “It’s a team we’ll probably see in the playoffs. It felt good to see what the sixth inning felt like this season.”

For the Dodgers, the loss could be painful because of another groin injury to starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, who left with two outs in the second inning.

St. Louis rallied with two runs in the seventh. Jose Martinez singled off Joe Kelly (1-2) to drive in Matt Carpenter, who had singled off Scott Alexander. Paul Goldschmidt later scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Kelly, who has blown three save opportunities.

“I think that obviously you look at the stuff and the stuff is really good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Kelly. “I certainly applaud him for calling down to the dugout and wanting to take the baseball. Joe’s going to keep fighting, and I believe in him. I know it’s going to turn. I just love the way this guy wants to pitch.”

With the Cardinals trailing 3-2, Mikolas got out of a jam in the sixth when Russell Martin hit a flyball to short center. Harrison Bader raced in to make the catch and threw home. Kike Hernandez, who had homered, was around third base, and catcher Yadier Molina threw to second to complete the double play.

“Thankfully that softball didn’t fall,” Shildt said.

John Gant worked two scoreless innings in relief and Jordan Hicks pitched the ninth for his second save in as many chances.

Ozuna homered off Ryu in the first to tie the game at 2. It was his 16th career first-inning home run.

Los Angeles had taken the lead on a fielder’s choice and a double by A.J. Pollack.

Corey Seager put the Dodgers ahead in the fifth with an RBI single.

EARLY EXIT

Ryu was diagnosed with a strained left groin, the same injury that forced him to miss more than half of last season. He threw a strike to Mikolas before stepping off the mound. The Dodgers assembled, and Ryu walked off. The 32-year-old left-hander threw 34 pitches, allowing two runs on two with a strikeout and a walk. Ryu is 2-0 with a 3.07 ERA. Dylan Floro relieved.

“It was different from the pain I felt last year,” Ryu said through a translator. “It was more of a precautionary measure to come out of the game. So compared to the left groin injury I had last year, right now I feel better. Right now I’m not too concerned. I’ll have to see tomorrow, but I’ll try to prepare the way as if I’m starting for my next outing, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

HOMERLESS

The Dodgers didn’t hit a home run for the first time this season. Los Angeles had 24 homers in its first 10 games and had homered in 13 consecutive games dating to last Sept. 28.

EX-CARDS RETURN

The Dodgers’ David Freese got a loud ovation when he came up to pinch-hit in the seventh. He tipped his helmet to the fans. Freese won the World Series and NLCS MVP awards for the Cardinals in 2011. Kelly, who pitched three years in St. Louis, also was cheered when he came in to pitch.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw, who began the season in the injured list with shoulder inflammation, will make his second rehab start Tuesday at Double-A Tulsa. In his first rehab start last Thursday, Kershaw gave up two runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings against San Antonio. He struck out and walked two. If his start goes well, Roberts said Kershaw will rejoin the team next weekend.

Cardinals: OF Tyler O’Neill is playing with a sore toe he hurt Saturday. O’Neill entered the game in the seventh inning, replacing Martinez in right field.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Right-hander Ross Stripling (0-0, 2.31 ERA) will be making his third start. He allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings in last start and got a no-decision in a 5-3 win over San Francisco.

Cardinals: Right-hander Dakota Hudson (0-1, 5.40) will be making his second start. In his last outing, he pitched two-thirds of an inning, stranding the bases loaded in the 10th inning of a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh.