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|L.A. Dodgers (28-13) «||1||0||0||1||0||1||3||0||x||6||14||2|
LOS ANGELES -- Scott Van Slyke has been hearing the same tired story since his childhood days.
It's the one about the time his father was in the on-deck circle at Dodger Stadium when Jack Clark hit a go-ahead three-run homer in Game 6 of the 1985 NL championship series to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Dodgers and clinch the NL pennant.
Then-Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda had wanted Tom Niedenfuer to face Clark with first base open because he felt Andy Van Slyke had a better chance to do some damage against the Dodgers' tired closer.
Sunday night brought back a flood of memories for the elder Van Slyke, who was in the stands and witnessed his son's first big league homer -- another three-run shot that put the Dodgers ahead in the seventh inning of a 6-5 victory over his hometown team.
"Tommy Lasorda reminds me of that every time he sees me," Scott Van Slyke said with a laugh. "I also had a couple of friends in the stands from St. Louis, and we're all from St. Louis. So I'm sure a little piece of them was cringing. But whatever team it was against, I think it would have been just as thrilling. It was important that the home run counted for something and helped the team win."
Kyle Lohse allowed three runs and 11 hits over 5 2-3 innings with four strikeouts and left with a 5-3 lead. But rookie Elian Herrera started the Dodgers' winning rally with a one-out single against Victor Marte, and Bobby Abreu greeted Marc Rzepczynski (0-2) with a single.
Van Slyke got the green light from manager Don Mattingly on a 3-0 pitch and drove it into the left-field bullpen after Andre Ethier struck out.
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"At first, I looked down at [third base coach] Tim Wallach, and maybe there was a little part of me that was surprised," the 25-year-old outfielder said. "But once I got back in the box, I was really zoned in, trying to get a pitch I could do something with."
The home run was the third allowed in 15 1-3 innings this season by Rzepczynski, the only left-hander manager Mike Matheny has in the bullpen for situations like that.
"My plan was to go with sinkers away early and see if he could hit a groundball," Rzepczynski said. "Then I threw a 3-0 changeup, thinking he'd be a little bit out in front of it, I just left it up a little bit up, and it was right in his wheelhouse. He sat back on it and hit it well. He's got the power. I know it was his first career home run, but he was definitely up here for a reason -- to get a chance to hit in that situation."
Javy Guerra (2-3) got the win, which completed a three-game sweep for the Dodgers and improved the best record in the majors to 28-13. Los Angeles is 15 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2009 season and leads San Francisco by seven games in the NL West, the Dodgers' biggest margin of the season.
Kenley Jansen retired the side in order in the ninth for his fifth save.
Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley gave up five runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in six innings and struck out seven -- including World Series MVP David Freese all three times he faced him. The right-hander is 0-3 over his last seven starts with a 5.20 ERA.
The Cardinals placed first baseman Lance Berkman on the 15-day disabled list before the game because of an injured right knee, and purchased the contract of Triple-A first baseman Matt Adams. The rookie smoked the first pitch he saw in the big leagues to center for a single in the second inning for the first of his two hits and started an inning-ending double play in the first after fielding Adam Kennedy's grounder in the hole.
The Cardinals turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Daniel Descalso led off with a single and Rafael Furcal reached on an error by Billingsley, who went to cover first base on Furcal's grounder in the hole and took the throw from James Loney with his foot off the bag on a bang-bang play.
Skip Schumaker followed with a two-run triple, then scored the go-ahead run when Carlos Beltran beat the relay to first from shortstop Justin Sellers on a potential inning-ending double-play grounder to short after a walk to Matt Holliday. Furcal added a two-run bloop single that made it 5-2 in the sixth.
|The Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke connects on a 3-0 pitch to launch a pinch-hit three-run homer, his first career round tripper. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Rafael Furcal, SS||5||1||2||2||0||0||1||.352|
|Skip Schumaker, CF-2B||4||1||1||2||1||0||1||.309|
|Matt Holliday, LF||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.264|
|Carlos Beltran, RF||3||0||0||1||1||1||0||.291|
|David Freese, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||4||3||.259|
|Marc Rzepczynski, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mitchell Boggs, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.299|
|Matt Adams, 1B||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.500|
|Daniel Descalso, 2B-3B||3||2||2||0||1||0||0||.222|
|Kyle Lohse, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||3||.059|
|Victor Marte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Shane Robinson, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.259|
|a- Matt Carpenter, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.280|
|a-struck out for Robinson in the 9th|
|3B - Skip Schumaker (2, Billingsley)|
|SH - Kyle Lohse 2 (6)|
|RBI - Rafael Furcal 2 (20), Skip Schumaker 2 (10), Carlos Beltran (33)|
|2-OUT RBI - Rafael Furcal 2 (10)|
|SB - Rafael Furcal (8, 2nd base off Billingsley/Ellis)|
|CS - Rafael Furcal (2, 3rd base by Billingsley/Ellis)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Adams-Furcal-Lohse, Descalso-Furcal-Adams|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Victor Marte (H,6)||0.2||1||1||1||0||0||0||4.08|
|Marc Rzepczynski (BS,3; L,0-2)||0.2||2||2||2||0||2||1||3.52|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 96-66, Victor Marte 7-6, Marc Rzepczynski 17-9, Mitchell Boggs 18-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 6-4, Mitchell Boggs 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 26, Victor Marte 3, Marc Rzepczynski 4, Mitchell Boggs 4|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Tony Gwynn Jr., CF||5||0||1||0||0||1||1||.286|
|Elian Herrera, 2B||4||2||3||0||0||0||0||.385|
|Bobby Abreu, LF||4||2||3||0||0||0||2||.294|
|Josh Lindblom, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kenley Jansen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Andre Ethier, RF||4||0||2||1||0||1||2||.309|
|Adam Kennedy, 3B||2||1||1||0||1||0||1||.245|
|a- Scott Van Slyke, PH-LF||1||1||1||3||0||0||0||.333|
|James Loney, 1B||4||0||2||1||0||1||0||.258|
|A.J. Ellis, C||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.321|
|Justin Sellers, SS-3B||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.179|
|Chad Billingsley, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.063|
|b- Ivan De Jesus Jr., PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.000|
|Javy Guerra, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Dee Gordon, SS||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.200|
|a-homered for Kennedy in the 7th|
|b-lined out for Billingsley in the 6th|
|3B - Adam Kennedy (1, Lohse)|
|HR - Scott Van Slyke (1, Rzepczynski)|
|RBI - Andre Ethier (37), Scott Van Slyke 3 (6), James Loney (12)|
|2-OUT RBI - Scott Van Slyke 3 (3)|
|CS - James Loney (2, 2nd base by Lohse/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Outfield Assists - Tony Gwynn Jr. 1|
|DP - Ellis-Kennedy, Billingsley-Ellis-Loney|
|E - Chad Billingsley (1, Missed catch of throw), Justin Sellers (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Javy Guerra (W,2-3)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||4.08|
|Josh Lindblom (H,10)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.11|
|Kenley Jansen (S,5)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.49|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chad Billingsley 95-61, Javy Guerra 10-7, Josh Lindblom 13-9, Kenley Jansen 13-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chad Billingsley 8-2, Javy Guerra 1-1, Josh Lindblom 2-1, Kenley Jansen 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Chad Billingsley 29, Javy Guerra 3, Josh Lindblom 3, Kenley Jansen 3|
|Attendance - 44005|
|Game Time - 2:57|
|Temperature - 77|
|Umpires - Home - Cory Blaser, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez|