Blue Crew Aiming High

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There are highs and lows to every season, and the Dodgers remain near the top of the National League West, along with the surprising San Diego Padres.

That’s the good news. The bad is that the club dropped three inter-league games to the Angels at Dodger Stadium, after sweeping three from St. Louis.

The Dodgers (36-27) lost a 6-5 decision last Sunday, and were upended 4-2 on Saturday, when Juan Rivera clubbed a two-run homer in the fourth inning. On Friday, it was Joel Pineiro (5-6) holding the Dodgers to five hits over nine innings during the 10-1 blowout.

In the finale, Hideki Matsui (three hits) knocked in two runs, supporting pitcher Jered Weaver (6-3), who went six innings, allowing five hits, three runs (all earned), striking out seven and walking one.

The Angels (36-30), in a race with the Texas Rangers for first place in the American League West, battered pitcher Chad Billingsley (6-4) for nine hits and seven runs (all earned) over five-and-two-third innings.

For the Angels, Torii Hunter (two hits and one run scored), and Matsui each had three runs batted in, while Howie Kendrick (three hits with one run scored ) drove in two runs.

James Loney’s solo home run in the fourth tied it at 1-1, before the Angels erupted for three runs in the fifth and four in the sixth.

On Wednesday, the Dodgers were 4-3 victors over the Cardinals, behind pitcher Clayton Kershaw (6-3), who stymied St. Louis across seven frames, with 10 strikeouts, two walks, four hits, and three runs (all earned).

The Dodgers pounded out nine hits off loser Adam Wainwright (8-4) and two relievers. The Blue Crew struck for two runs in the first and third innings, and held on as the Red Birds scored three in the top of the fourth when Ryan Ludwick homered with two runners on.

Dodgers’ reliever Jonathan Broxton needed 12 pitches to earn his 16th save, allowing two hits in one inning.

Manny Ramirez laced a double in the eighth inning on Tuesday that scored Rafael Furcal, as the Dodgers were 1-0 winners.

The Dodgers out-hit the Cards, 9-6, with Andre Ethier rapping out three hits, while Russell Martin and Furcal chipped in with two hits each.

In the opening game of the set Monday, the Dodgers smothered the Cardinals 12-4, as Blake DeWitt drove in a career-best five runs, and had two hits with two runs scored.

DeWitt’s three-run rocket off the right-field foul pole in the fifth gave the hosts a 10-1 lead.

The Dodgers’ 14-hit attack off two St. Louis hurlers was too much to overcome. Furcal (two RBI and one run scored), Matt Kemp (one RBI with one run scored), Reed Johnson (one run scored), and Ronnie Belliard (two runs scored and an RBI), all had two hits.

Carlos Monasterios (3-0) was the winning pitcher after working six effective innings, giving up four hits, three runs (all earned), walking three with no strikeouts.

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