Dodgers Are In Free Fall

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There is too much of the baseball season left to panic, but the option is there. The Dodgers entered the All-Star break 10 games above .500, and in contention in the National League West, but dropped four consecutive road games to St. Louis.

It’s not going to get any easier for the Dodgers (49-43), who haven’t been hitting, and whose pitching staff has been wildly inconsistent recently.

Next are the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets, and they’re going to be at home, but last Sunday’s 5-4 loss when Matt Holliday singled in the game-winner was crushing, and Saturday’s 2-0 defeat was a heartbreaker.

James Loney could have tied it in the sixth, but instead hit into a double play. The Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright (14-5) was on target, working six sharp innings, striking out three, walking one and allowing five hits.

Hiroki Kuroda (7-8) pitched well, but didn’t get much offensive support, as the Dodgers managed six hits, with Rafael Furcal and Blake DeWitt each chipping in with two.

Kuroda gave up four hits, fanned eight, issued one walk, and one run (earned) over six frames.

St. Louis (51-41) scored single runs in the fourth and eighth, and are in a battle with the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central.

On Friday, the Cardinals were 8-4 victors as pitcher Chad Billingsley left in the fifth inning after facing one batter.

Billingsley (7-5) struggled with his control, allowing 10 hits, seven runs (earned), walking two, and exiting without a strikeout.

The Cards led 5-2 after three innings, with three runs scoring in the first inning. Yadier Molina drove in four runs, bashed a two-run homer, scored a run and had two hits.

Randy Winn had two hits, one a triple, drove in two runs and scored two runs for the Cards, who added a run in the fourth to make it 6-2, and then tacked on two runs in the fifth before the Dodgers made it respectable with a two-run eighth.

The Dodgers banged out 13 hits, with Loney going three for five, with a run scored and a run batted in, Furcal had two hits and drove in a run, Matt Kemp collected two hits, had an RBI and scored a run, and Jamey Carroll smacked two hits and scored a run.

In the series opener on Thursday, the Cardinals pushed around the Dodgers during their 7-1 victory.

St Louis tagged starter Clayton Kershaw for five runs (four earned) and eight hits over four and one-third innings. Kershaw (9-5) fanned one and walked three.

Chris Carpenter, a former Cy Young award winner, was brilliant, scattering four hits across eight innings, striking out six, and didn’t allow a walk.

The only run Carpenter (10-3) gave up was a solo homer to Andre Ethier (two for four) in the fourth inning.

Albert Pujols had three hits, including a double and scored a run, and Molina added two hits, a run and an RBI.

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