Shaky fifth inning dooms Martinez in Cardinals' 5-3 loss to Dodgers
LOS ANGELES-- Scott Kazmir found velocity and stamina for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night.
Kazmir pitched 8 2/3 solid innings for his best outing of the season, Adrian Gonzalez and Corey Seager homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 on Saturday night.
The Dodgers have won three consecutive games and eight of their last 10.
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Kazmir (3-3) allowed three runs on five hits, struck out seven and walked one. He was nearly flawless until Jeremy Hazelbaker hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run to pull the Cardinals within two in the ninth. Closer Kenley Jansen recorded the final out for his 13th save in as many opportunities.
With two outs, Randal Grichuk singled, and Kazmir put his hands to his head. He did the same after Hazelbaker's home run chased him.
"It felt like I kind of got punched in the gut right there," Kazmir said. "That's the way the baseball gods are right now. Just going to keep on going."
Still, it was good news for Kazmir, who had been battling a wrist injury. Kazmir's velocity was consistently in the low 90s, even through the ninth inning. He was in command for his finest performance of the season.
"It sounds like the (wrist injury) played a factor," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He wasn't throwing his changeup as much earlier as far as with the injury, but now he feels confident with the change and his velocity is coming back. He says he feels 100 percent and obviously, with the velocity tonight, it seems like that's the truth."
Gonzalez hit a home run, his fourth of the season, to lead off the fourth inning. Seager, who had three hits, ripped a solo home run in the seventh inning. That softened the sting of his two errors.
"It makes your game better," Seager said. "It's not exactly nice. It's definitely a positive, but you still don't ever want it to ever happen. You don't ever want it to be put on your shoulders. You want to be accountable for it and you want to make every one. That's baseball. You're not going to."
The Dodgers scored three runs in the fifth after Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez (4-3) loaded the bases with no outs. Martinez, who reached 101 mph on his fastball, left after that having allowed five runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out two.
"I battled a lot tonight, made a lot of pitches," Martinez said through an interpreter. "That's a good club over there, and they made good swings."
Martinez pitched on seven days rest after leaving his previous start due to fatigue and illness. Aside from Gonzalez's home run, he worked his way out of trouble until the fifth, when he threw 40 pitches.
Dean Kiekhefer made his major league debut for the Cardinals. He struck out four in 1 2/3 innings but allowed Seager's home run in the seventh inning.
Kazmir allowed two home runs in his previous start and has allowed 10 this season. He was one out away from not giving up a home run in this game. He even had a bunt single in the fifth inning, giving him four hits over his career.
"The last couple of outings have been a slow progression," Kazmir said. "End of the game, you've got to stay humble. Everything is going better and better. I'm excited. I'm going to take a lot of positives out of this outing and keep it going."
Yasiel Puig made another dazzling defensive play for the Dodgers, a diving catch to rob Yadier Molina of a hit in the second inning. He had three hits a day earlier to shake some rust at the plate, but on Saturday, Puig was 0 for 3.
Cardinals: RHP Seth Mannes was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left shoulder surgery) will make his first rehab start at Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday, where he is expected to throw two innings. Dave Roberts said he'll probably make four or five minor league starts to build up to 100 pitches. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy (Tommy John surgery) threw a simulated inning Saturday. He is expected to throw one more simulated game before going on a rehab assignment. ... RHP Yimi Garcia (right bicep soreness) is not doing any baseball activities and not improving, according to Roberts.
Cardinals: RHP Mike Leake (1-3, 5.10) earned his first win as a Cardinal in his previous start, allowing one run in eight innings against the Angels. Since 2010, Leake is 3-4 with a 4.03 ERA against the Dodgers.
Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (1-3, 4.58 ERA) will be making his first career start against the Cardinals. In his eight career home starts as a Dodger, he is 4-2 with a 2.00 ERA and opponents are batting .194.