The Dodgers faced the Cardinals in their final regular season meeting tonight with hopes of regaining some sense of balance with their rivals from the Midwest. After losing 4 of their first 5 meetings, the Dodgers rode the golden arm of Clayton Kershaw in game 3 of this series. They looked to win 2 on the trot with Zack Greinke on the mound, but the Cardinals had other things in mind. After a great outing by Greinke, the Cards rebounded late in the game against the bullpen to take the series finale 4-2.
Cardinals 4 9 0
Dodgers 2 7 1
Siegrist (W) Nicasio (L) Rosenthal (S)
Zack Greinke had his stuff early forcing 3 infield ground outs and 2 strike outs from the first five batters faced before Mark Reynolds broke up things with a single to left with 2 outs in the second. Zack finished the game pitching 6.2 innings surrendering 1 run (a solo HR) with 6 hits and 8 strike outs. A great outing, but the bullpen wouldn’t be able to hold it for him.
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Yasiel Puig, who drove in the winning run on Saturday night, lined a single to left off Lance Lynn tonight and later scored on a left-center gapper by Justin Turner, giving the Dodgers a first inning 1-0 lead.
In the third, Greinke looked to solidify his position as the best all-around baseball player among pitchers when he singled to left. An out later, Puig singled again, sending Greinke to second. An out after that, Turner singled to center, scoring Greinke from second to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
Watching Zack dig as he turned third was a thing of beauty. Pundits talk a lot of how Greinke is one of the best athletes on the team. Seeing him make that run from second after throwing Ks in the inning previous gives credence to the claim.
It was a 2-0 game until the sixth, when Jhonny Peralta, finally getting the best of Zack, took him deep to left center, making the game 2-1. The Dodgers had their chances to extend their lead further. In the fifth, Greinke collected another single and Joc Pederson walked. Two on, no outs. Then Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and Turner each flied out gently into the night, leaving it a one run game.
In the sixth, after Mitch Harris replaced Lynn on the mound, Ethier earned a walk and stole second. Yasmani Grandal then popped out and Enrique Hernandez grounded out. Two outs, man still in scoring position. Jimmy Rollins then singled to right (a rare enough occurrence in itself) and Ethier was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Jason Heyward. So frustrating.
Those missed opportunities came back to haunt the Dodgers in the eighth. Adam Liberatore, who took over in the seventh, walked Matt Carpenter and was then replaced by Juan Nicasio. Matt Holiday doubled to right, scoring Carpenter, tying the game at 2 apiece. The Cards brought in Peter Bourjos to pinch run for Holiday (who had taken third on a Puig fielding error), and he scored when Peralta singled to left. Mark Reynolds then doubled to center, scoring Peralta from first, and pushing the score to 4-2 where it ended.
Call to the Pen
The Dodgers lost 5 of 7 against the Cardinals this season which doesn’t bode well if the two teams meet again in October. Granted, lineups, matchups, and being “in the zone” could make differences if these two teams meet again, but if there is one thing that is apparent, it’s that the Dodgers still can’t match a team like St. Louis when it comes to manufacturing that extra run or two when needed. Over the next four months, that might be the biggest challenge LA will have to face.