Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dodgers dismantle Cardinals with a 13-spot

One day after the Dodgers saw their road winning streak end at 15, they made sure to get right back on track.  Boy did they ever.

Shelby Miller was knocked out of the game after being hit by a liner on the second pitch of the game, the Dodgers put up six runs in the second, and 18 hits later collected a 13-4 victory over the Cardinals.  The Diamondbacks won a back-and-forth battle over the Rays, so the lead in the NL West remains at five.

The Cardinals had a great chance to win a second straight game with Miller on the mound, but unfortunately for them, he was hit on the right elbow on a hard liner by Carl Crawford to start the game.  That was it for him, as X-rays later revealed an elbow contusion and nothing worse.  That's the only positive they got from this game.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first, the Dodgers broke loose in the second.  With Jake Westbrook moved up a day to pitch in long relief rather than starting on Thursday, the Dodgers got six runs on five hits.  It all started on an infield single by Tim Federowicz, followed by a single from Dee Gordon, and a sacrifice bunt from Ricky Nolasco.

Crawford was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Jerry Hairston made them pay with a two-run single to left.  Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI single next to make it 3-0.  Yasiel Puig walked (yes, really), and Andre Ethier's liner back to Westbrook was dropped, allowing Hairston to score for the 4-0 lead.

The final blow was a two-run single from Skip Schumaker, and the Dodgers were in full control at 6-0.

Nolasco ended up getting the win, but he had to labor just to get through five.  He ran into trouble in the fifth when he threw away an easy dribbler back to the mound to allow David Descalso to go all the way to third.  Four straight singles came next to make it 7-3 before Nolasco got David Freese swinging to end the inning.

That was the only blemish of the night, as the bats picked right back up in the sixth.  It all started on a two-out triple by Ethier, who had four RBIs on the night.  Schumaker's RBI single made it 8-3, and Gordon's RBI single added to the fun.

Ethier continued his big night by clearing the bases with a double in the ninth, and Schumaker again hit an RBI single, giving the Dodgers 13 runs.  Carlos Marmol finished out the game with two strikeouts and a walk.

Every Dodger starting position player had at least one hit, and even Nolasco contributed with sacrifice bunts.  Crawford had four hits; Ethier, Schumaker, and Federowicz had three; and Gordon two.  Once again they did it without the longball, and they only had three extra-base hits.  It was practically a conga line of one single after another.  Throw in seven walks, and that's 25 men reaching base.  Wow.

As I stated before, Nolasco got the win to improve to 8-9, but he really wasn't that sharp.  He lasted five innings for seven hits, three hits (none earned), one walk, and five strikeouts.  That line looks good, but remember it was his own error that made those runs unearned.  Why in the world the pitcher doesn't get charged for runs because of his own error is completely beyond me.  Anyway, four straight singles with two outs made getting qualified for the win quite the task, but he finally got that last out to end his night.

There's one more game left in this series on Thursday night, and the Dodgers have a great chance to take three of four.  Hyun-Jin Ryu will get the call, and his team has won his last seven starts, improving his record from 6-3 to 10-3 during that time.  The Cardinals have called up young Carlos Martinez to make the spot start in his Major League debut.

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