LOS ANGELES -- So, you want to be a contender?
As mercurial and inconsistent as the St. Louis Cardinals have been this season, one of the few things they have been able to cling to is their constant contention for a spot in the postseason. Sure they've lingered behind the Milwaukee Brewers, but even as the Cardinals toyed with .500 and never dipped below it they've remained in the lead for a wild-card berth.
They have fancied themselves a playoff-caliber team trying to find that playoff-caliber performance that they would need once they're there.
Well, the Los Angeles Dodgers gave them a new dose of reality.
Clayton Kershaw, in his first home start since a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium earlier this month, spun through a diluted and overmatched Cardinals lineup as LA schooled the Cardinals, 6-0, on Sunday to take three games of a four-game visit from the Cardinals. The Cardinals scored four runs total in the four-game series.
Two came on home runs.
The Dodgers feature one of the best rotations in the majors with Josh Beckett's revival, Zack Greinke's bid for an All-Star start, and Clayton Kershaw's push for another Cy Young award. The Cardinals feature one of the most-strained rotations in the league. Injuries and now inconsistencies have fueled further troubles.
After falling behind 2-0 in the fourth inning, Shelby Miller came undone in the fifth inning. A walk here and a bunt there created the Dodgers' first rally of the game.
Extra-base thump turned it into a rout.
Yasiel Puig turned a single into a double to start the rally in the fifth inning. He scored on Adrian Gonzalez's single. Matt Kemp followed with a double and Andre Ehtier drilled a three-run homer put the game out of reach of the Cardinals' pedestrian offense.
Kershaw allowed four hits through seven shutout innings.
Three were by Matt Carpenter.
Miller completed five innings and allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks. He threw only 71 pitches and left the Cardinals' bullpen another three innings to cover. The Dodgers have saved the Cardinals' bullpen more work this weekend than the Cardinals' starters. By shredding the Cardinals on back-to-back days the Cardinals only had to throw eight innings in each game, not nine.
(c)2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services