LOS ANGELES -- During the first two days of their four-day visit to Chavez Ravine and reunion of last year's National League championship series, the St. Louis Cardinals described how tense, edgy, and playoff-like the games had been against the host Los Angeles Dodgers. Magnificent pitching decided the first game. Superb defense helped win the next.
Both teams contributed to an autumnal quality of play.
The Cardinals failed to uphold their part Saturday.
In a wretched outing that saw strengths become weaknesses and weaknesses get worse, the Cardinals bombed near Hollywood, losing 9-1 to Los Angeles. Haphazard defense behind starter Lance Lynn invited trouble he only further encouraged as the Dodgers drilled him for a season-high six runs in the second inning. The righty did not last to throw a pitch in the third inning, adding additional chaos to a rotation already understaffed because of injury.
Dodgers righty Zack Greinke continued the tone set Thursday by Josh Beckett and set to be echoed Sunday with Clayton Kershaw starting at Dodger Stadium for the first time since his no-hitter.
In the first three games of the series, the Cardinals' lineup, drifting back at 12th in the National League in runs scored, has managed four runs against the Dodgers' starters in 21 innings. Two have come on homers, including Matt Carpenter's solo shot off Greinke in the third inning Saturday.
The LA starters have struck out 21 Cardinals in those 21 innings.
Greinke (10-4), an obvious All-Star and candidate to start the game, struck out 10 Cardinals in his seven innings to become only the second starting pitcher this season with as many as 10 strikeouts in a single game.
The save, unofficially, went to lefty Nick Greenwood.
Thrust into the game in the third inning after the Cardinals had hemorrhaged for six runs and nine hits in the first two innings, Greenwood calmed the game. He brought needed innings to a Cardinals club that could be gasping for them Sunday. Lynn (8-6) became the second starter in five days to fail to complete the third inning. The other pitcher, Shelby Miller, is set to start Sunday in his first game back from the back spasms that abbreviated his outing in Colorado. The Cardinals have carried 13 pitchers on their roster during this road trip because they want to be protected against further wear on the bullpen.
Greenwood allowed three hits and no runs through his four innings.
He was the only Cardinal pitcher to quiet the Dodgers' lineup.
Called upon to close out the final couple of innings, Eric Fornataro complicated his final inning with his own error. The Dodgers added two runs against the rookie to set the final score, which implied the game was closer than it was.
(c)2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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