Dodgers plate six runs in second, blow out Cardinals
Schumaker, Ethier each drive in four as LA tallies season-high 18 hits
ST. LOUIS -- After two pitches, the Dodgers and Cardinals were left scrambling. St. Louis starter Shelby Miller took a liner off his right elbow in the game's first at-bat and the Cardinals hurried to find a pitching solution, while the Dodgers tossed out their game plan against the rookie right-hander.
The pitching disaster for St. Louis provided an ample opportunity for the Dodgers to get back to their winning ways on the road and they did just that, totaling a season-high 18 hits in a 13-4 victory at Busch Stadium on Wednesday night.
On just the second pitch of the night, Carl Crawford fired a line drive right back at Miller, knocking the Cardinals rookie out of the game with a right elbow bruise. X-rays on Miller's elbow came up negative.
The Cardinals turned to reliever Michael Blazek, who loaded the bases, yet escaped the jam unscathed as the Dodgers squandered a bases-loaded opportunity. Manager Mike Matheny then called on Thursday's scheduled starter, Jake Westbrook, to pitch on three days' rest, hoping to preserve a bullpen lacking a viable long reliever.
"Jake, as soon as that happened, was up on his feet, starting to get his spikes on and stretch," Matheny said.
Westbrook tossed seven perfect innings in his last regular-season relief appearance -- April 19, 2004 with the Indians -- but the Dodgers ambushed him for six runs on five singles and two walks (one intentional), working the right-hander for 34 pitches before he could record his first three outs.
"It's scary because next thing you know you get a guy out of the 'pen that you don't really know as well with good arms, too," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "And sometimes that kind of sends guys into a frenzy. They brought Westbrook in, who guys know a little better, so we were able to scratch and have that big inning there and then keep going."
"You never want to see a guy like Shelby Miller get hurt," Skip Schumaker said. "But when it does happen, you kind of try to figure out what to do. We didn't know who was going to come in. We didn't know if they had a long guy. We didn't know if Westbrook was going to man up, and he manned up. You have to give a lot of credit to Westbrook in really trying to save their bullpen."
Westbrook settled down to pitch two scoreless frames before the Dodgers knocked him around again in the fifth and sixth, tacking on three more runs.
"Three days of rest is sufficient for most people," Westbrook said. "You want to come in and do what you can. The bottom line is I didn't do that. I just didn't pitch very well, and that hurt us."
Los Angeles starter Ricky Nolasco was effective for four innings until the Cardinals chased him with three runs on four consecutive singles in the fifth. He exited after five with three unearned runs, seven hits, one walk and five strikeouts on 103 pitches. St. Louis plated one more in the sixth against reliever Chris Withrow.
"With that team, there's no break, top to bottom," Nolasco said. "Whether we have a huge lead of not, I'm not going to just sit in there and start feeding fastballs because next thing you know, they put a four- or five-spot on the board. I'm still going out there and pitching just like it's a close game and especially with that lineup."
Every Dodgers starter, with the exception of Nolasco, had at least one hit, and five players recorded multi-hit games. Former Cardinal Schumaker ended an 0-for-14 slump with a 3-for-6, four-RBI night, and Crawford, who lined the leadoff double that knocked Miller out of the game, went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base. Andre Ethier went 3-for-5 and drove in four runs, including three on a ninth-inning double.
It was only fitting that the unusual three-hour, 47-minute contest ended in equally bizarre fashion, with Cardinals catcher Rob Johnson striking out Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez to close the top of the ninth, when most of the 43,523 fans had already headed for the exits. Hoping to avoid burning any more relief arms, Matheny sent Johnson to the mound for his second career pitching appearance -- he tossed a scoreless inning in 2012 for the Mets -- against Rodriguez, who was making his first career plate appearance.
The win secured at least a series tie with the Cardinals, and the Dodgers will remain unbeaten in their last 14 series with nine wins and four ties entering this four-game slate. Los Angeles has not lost a series since June 14-16, when the club dropped two of three to Pittsburgh.
"We just want to put ourselves in position to win baseball games," Jerry Hairston said. "If we do that, more times than not we're going to prevail. It's not going to happen every night. We're a confident group, we feel that we can get the job done."