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St. Louis at Los Angeles

Scoreboard
St. Louis (76-68) «0100001002101
L.A. Dodgers (74-70)100000000160

Cardinals edge struggling Dodgers, increase wild-card cushion to two games

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Although Allen Craig's bouncing single didn't look like much, it was just what Lance Lynn and the St. Louis Cardinals needed to get back on track in the wild-card race.

Craig drove in Shane Robinson with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, and the Cardinals extended their NL wild-card lead on Los Angeles to two games with a 2-1 victory against the struggling Dodgers on Thursday night.

Lynn (15-7) pitched six innings of five-hit ball to earn his first victory since July 27 for the Cardinals, striking out seven in the All-Star's stellar return to the rotation after a bullpen demotion. Yet he wasn't rewarded for his effort until Craig's single eluded two Dodgers and squeaked into right field.

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"It's definitely a dogfight," said Craig, a Southern California native. "To be part of a close game with a lot of energy and to come out on top is great for our team. ... I thought it had a good chance to get through. I didn't know if I hit it hard enough, but I did."

Skip Schumaker had an early run-scoring single as St. Louis (76-68) snapped its three-game skid and a four-game road losing streak with a nail-biting win over the Dodgers (74-70), who have lost four straight. With Lynn in charge on the mound, the defending World Series champion Cardinals eked out just enough runs to earn their fourth victory in 16 games in the opener of a key four-game series.

After getting banished to the bullpen last month, Lynn made the most of his chance to take the turn of injured Jake Westbrook. Lynn won his first six starts this season and was voted to the All-Star game by the players, but plummeted out of favor and made six relief appearances since his previous start Aug. 24.

"That's one of the best starts he's had this season," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It just says volumes about his makeup and his stuff. It was a tough transition to the bullpen, and some guys handle it better than others. ... He showed he learned some things and couldn't wait to go out there and still prove he was ready to start."

Both teams stumbled into Dodger Stadium hardly resembling the top two contenders to face Atlanta in the NL wild card playoff game. St. Louis and Los Angeles had lost three straight and six of seven, allowing Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and even Arizona to creep into striking distance in the wild-card race.

"You definitely want to get off to a great start against a team we're playing for a wild-card berth," Lynn said.

Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI double in the Dodgers' seventh loss in eight games, putting a gloom over Dodger Stadium while the Cardinals wrapped it up.

Jason Motte gave up Hanley Ramirez's two-out double in the ninth, but got Shane Victorino on a soft fly to complete his 34th save.

"The pitchers are doing their job, but we're not scoring runs," said Matt Kemp, who went 1 for 4. "One run is not going to win games in series like this, so we've got to find a way to get the job done. I can't really explain what's going on. You just take one good at-bat at a time and see where it takes you."

Josh Beckett gave up seven hits and a run while pitching into the sixth inning of his fourth start for Los Angeles, while rookie Paco Rodriguez (0-1) and Ronald Belisario allowed the seventh-inning rally capped by Craig's RBI single.

"We've got to stop worrying about what everybody else is doing and go out and win games ourselves," Beckett said. "That's a good ballclub over there, but we've got to figure out some way to win this series. They're the ones that we're chasing."

Beckett struck out six and had decent numbers despite laboring through long stretches of his second home start since the trade. He also didn't endear himself to Dodgers fans by putting a line drive into right field in the third inning and then getting thrown out at first by Carlos Beltran when he didn't hustle to the base.

After rescuing Beckett from a sixth-inning jam, Rodriguez walked Robinson and allowed Matt Carpenter's one-out single in the seventh. Belisario got Matt Holliday on a fly to center, but Craig delivered.

Notes

  • Jose Canseco watched the game from a field box wearing a black T-shirt reading: "Sorry For Everything Mark," an apparent reference to Mark McGwire, his former Oakland Athletics teammate and the Cardinals' hitting coach.
  • Craig was born in Mission Viejo and graduated from high school in Temecula.
  • Rodriguez began this year at the University of Florida, where he made the All-SEC first team. The Dodgers' second-round pick was the first member of the 2012 draft class to make the majors when he debuted in San Francisco last Sunday.
  • Beckett hadn't pitched against the Cardinals since 2005.
  • Entering the night, Lynn led the NL with 6.60 runs of support per game.
  • IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves threw out the first pitch. IndyCar finishes its season this weekend in Fontana.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Skip Schumaker tags out Dodgers speedster Dee Gordon on a stolen-base attempt in the seventh inning.  (US Presswire)
Skip Schumaker tags out Dodgers speedster Dee Gordon on a stolen-base attempt in the seventh inning. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

A. Gonzalez
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
St. Louis

A. Craig
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jon Jay, CF4000101 .313
Matt Carpenter, 3B5010020 .303
Matt Holliday, LF4000112 .299
Allen Craig, 1B5021001 .306
Yadier Molina, C4130002 .319
Carlos Beltran, RF2020200 .263
Skip Schumaker, 2B4021002 .292
Daniel Descalso, SS4000018 .221
Lance Lynn, P2000025 .068
   a- Shane Robinson, PH0100100 .253
    Edward Mujica, P0000000 .000
   b- David Freese, PH1000001 .296
    Mitchell Boggs, P0000000 .000
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Totals35210256  
a-walked for Lynn in the 7th
b-grounded out for Mujica in the 8th
Batting
2B - Allen Craig (31, Beckett), Carlos Beltran (24, Belisario)
RBI - Allen Craig (77), Skip Schumaker (27)
2-OUT RBI - Allen Craig (27)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Carlos Beltran 1
DP - M. Carpenter-Schumaker-Craig, Molina-Descalso
E - Matt Carpenter (9, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Lance Lynn (W,15-7) 6511270 3.95
Edward Mujica (H,24) 1000010 3.10
Mitchell Boggs (H,29) 1000000 2.35
Jason Motte (S,34) 1100000 2.86
Pitches-Strikes - Lance Lynn 82-55, Edward Mujica 11-8, Mitchell Boggs 7-4, Jason Motte 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Lance Lynn 7-2, Edward Mujica 2-0, Mitchell Boggs 2-1, Jason Motte 1-2
Batters Faced - Lance Lynn 23, Edward Mujica 3, Mitchell Boggs 3, Jason Motte 4
Los Angeles Dodgers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Mark Ellis, 2B4110010 .268
Andre Ethier, RF3010100 .287
Matt Kemp, CF4010002 .311
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B3011110 .291
Hanley Ramirez, SS4010023 .251
Shane Victorino, LF4010011 .256
Luis Cruz, 3B3000011 .299
    Dee Gordon, PR0000000 .229
    Nick Punto, 3B0000000 .194
A.J. Ellis, C3000011 .276
Josh Beckett, P2000011 .071
    Steven Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
    Ronald Belisario, P0000000 .000
   a- Bobby Abreu, PH1000000 .239
    Randy Choate, P0000000 .000
    Brandon League, P0000000 .000
Totals3116128  
a-grounded out for Belisario in the 8th
Batting
2B - Adrian Gonzalez (42, Lynn), Hanley Ramirez (28, Motte)
RBI - Adrian Gonzalez (99)
2-OUT RBI - Adrian Gonzalez (32)
CS - Matt Kemp (4, 2nd base by Lynn/Molina), Dee Gordon (9, 2nd base by Mujica/Molina)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Ellis-H. Ramirez-Gonzalez
Los Angeles Dodgers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Josh Beckett 5.1711260 4.94
Steven Rodriguez (L,0-1) 1111100 5.40
Ronald Belisario 1.2200000 2.39
Randy Choate 0.1000200 2.78
Brandon League 0.2000000 3.48
IBB - Beltran by Josh Beckett, Holliday by Randy Choate
WP - Josh Beckett (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 98-58, Steven Rodriguez 21-12, Ronald Belisario 23-16, Randy Choate 11-3, Brandon League 4-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 6-3, Steven Rodriguez 1-2, Ronald Belisario 2-3, Randy Choate 1-0, Brandon League 1-0
Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 24, Steven Rodriguez 5, Ronald Belisario 7, Randy Choate 3, Brandon League 1
Game Information
Attendance - 43309
Game Time - 3:06
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Dana DeMuth