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As usual the flaccid bats did absolutely nothing, wasting an outstanding starting pitching performance from Walker Buehler. Cardinal’s right hander Jack Flaherty was excellent too. The two young pitchers battled for six innings with the Dodgers finally getting an advantage when Joc Pederson slugged a solo home run breaking up Flaherty’s no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
Buehler would pitch one more frame, and was able to escape the inning unscathed despite the Cardinals threatening. In the top of the seventh Jedd Gyorko had doubled past the third base bag and after Paul Dejong struck out, Kolten Wong’s grounder moved Gyorko over to third. Manny Machado made a leaping grab on Harrison Bader’s liner to end the inning preserving the Dodger’s 1-0 lead. Buehler would allow just three hits, two walks and struck out nine over seven dominant innings. Flaherty tossed six innings giving up only one hit (the Joc homer in the sixth) walking two and striking out ten. The limp Dodger bats had only two base runners (two walks) until the bottom of the sixth. The lackluster bats managed just two measly hits the entire night.
Cardinals 3 7 1
Dodgers 1 2 1
Once Buehler was out of the game, the Dodgers again turned to one of the most unreliable relievers on the planet, Scott Alexander. I knew the game was lost as soon as he entered. Sure enough with one out in the top of the eighth, Alexander served up a pinch-hit solo home run to Tyler O’Neill that tied the game. How long will it take for the Dodger management to wake up about Alexander? He’s truly awful and I simply can’t believe he’s still on the roster let alone pitching in important games.
Even with the game predictably slipping away, the Dodgers still had a chance to score some runs and retake the lead in the bottom of the eighth against struggling reliever Brett Cecil. With one out, Yasiel Puig singled to center. Matt Kemp reached on a throwing error as Gyorko’s throw was high pulling Matt Carpenter off the bag. The Dodgers got a break but couldn’t capitalize. After Joc grounded out, moving the runners over to second and third, the Cardinals predictably pitched around Justin Turner loading the bases. With the bases loaded, the Dodgers unsurprisingly came up empty. Machado weakly grounded out and the Dodgers came away with nothing. The Dodgers are so passive and unaggressive they are unable to make plays or come up with big hits.
With the game still tied, in came Kenley Jansen in the top of the ninth to preserve the tie and try to give the Dodgers a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth. But Kenley is obviously not right this year and once again he blew it. With one out Gyorko singled and Dejong smashed a two-run home run over the left center field wall to put the Cards ahead for good 3-1. And what did the Dodgers do in the bottom of the ninth? They struck out in all three at-bats.
Thank god there’s a day off on Thursday as the Dodgers wait for the San Diego Padres to come into town for a weekend series. The Dodgers are now 4.5 games behind in the NL West race and soon to be buried. Remember this is still the same team that began the season ten games under .500. Can the Dodgers even beat the lowly Padres? I wouldn’t count on it.