Pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke connected for his first major league homer, a go-ahead, three-run shot in the seventh inning against his father’s former team, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied for a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night.
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 Mark Rzepczynski (0-2) with a single.
Van Slyke, whose father is former All-Star Andy Van Slyke, swung at a 3-0 pitch and drove it into the left field bullpen after Andre Ethier struck out.
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 centre 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 into the right field corner, 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.
The Cardinals should have had runners at the corners with no outs in the sixth, but third base umpire Alfonso Marquez called Yadier Molina out on a single by Adams that centre fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. chased down. TV replays confirmed that Kennedy’s diving tag was late, but Furcal came through with a two-run bloop single that made it 5-2.
Ethier opened the scoring in the first with an RBI single, his NL-leading 37th RBI. Abreu led off the fourth with a single and scored the Dodgers’ second run on Loney’s double-play grounder with the bases loaded.