Cardinals 11, Dodgers 2
The way Lance Berkman sees it, the hot-hitting Cardinals are simply realizing their potential for power at the same time.
Albert Pujols and Berkman each homered in consecutive at-bats and St. Louis sent the Los Angeles Dodgers to their fourth consecutive loss, 11-2 on Friday night.
The Cardinals' offense continued unabated as they reached .500 for the first time this season, with five wins in their last six games. They battered the Dodgers' staff for 19 hits a night after winning the series opener 9-5 and collecting 16 hits.
''If you look at the back of everybody's baseball card and figure, `Well, if they hit to their potential,' you've got the recipe for a really good offense,'' Berkman said. ''Just like we weren't too distraught about having a couple of tough games at the beginning of the season, we're not going to pat ourselves on the back too much for having a few games where we swung the bats well.''
In their five games since Monday - three against Arizona - the Cardinals have hit 13 homers and scored 51 runs. They've had 14 or more hits in five consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 31-Sept. 7, 1930, when they did so in six straight.
''It's a burst and it's not something that you can look to continue every game the rest of the season,'' Berkman said. ''That was predicted to be a strength of this team coming into the season and it's good to see we've been able to string some games here where that's been the case.''
The Cardinals' offensive power extended to the bottom of their lineup, too. Yadier Molina had four hits - all singles - and starter Kyle Lohse singled, too.
Lohse (2-1) allowed two runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander struck out six, including Aaron Miles in the seventh for his 1,000th career strikeout, and walked one.
''I didn't have my best stuff,'' Lohse said. ''I was able to get it going once we put runs on the board. The big thing was to not let them get in it.''
Jon Garland (0-1) struggled in his season debut, giving up nine hits and five runs in four-plus innings. The right-hander, who struck out two and walked none, came off the disabled list earlier in the day after straining his left oblique March 9.
Berkman homered into the lower right field seats on Garland's first pitch of the second inning. David Freese scored from third base on a balk by Garland - the first of his career - and Ryan Theriot hit an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
''I still don't think it's a balk,'' Garland said. ''He said I started (toward the plate), which is weird because when I start to go back into my set (position), I go back, and he said I went forward. So I think maybe he blinked and then saw me turn because I turn and look at the runner every time someone's on base. And until you're set, you can do that.''
Berkman homered again leading off the fourth for his second multihomer game since Monday.
''They seem to be hitting everything thrown up there, and they're doing a pretty damn good job of it,'' Garland said.
Pujols hit a two-run shot in the fifth against Kenley Jansen that extended the Cardinals' lead to 5-2 after Colby Rasmus chased Garland with a leadoff double. Pujols then led off the seventh with a homer to straightaway center field off Blake Hawksworth, making it 7-2.
''Albert is going to have a great year if he stays healthy,'' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. ''He gets pitched so tough. He now has a lot of help in the lineup.''
The Dodgers scored both their runs in the fourth on Matt Kemp's RBI single and a wild pitch by Lohse with two outs.
NOTES: Pujols had his 40th career multihomer game and first since last September. ... Dodgers RF Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an infield single in the fourth. ... Don Newcombe, a former teammate of Jackie Robinson on the Dodgers, threw out the first pitch to Kemp on the annual day baseball honored the player who broke the sport's color barrier 64 years ago.