Adrian Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning off St. Louis Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal and the Los Angeles Dodgers salvaged the finale of a three-game series with a 4-3 victory on Sunday night.
The Dodgers pulled into a virtual tie for first place with San Francisco in the NL West despite a so-so outing from Clayton Kershaw, whose run of seven straight starts allowing one or fewer runs came to an end. Yasiel Puig did not play after getting hit by a pitch on the left hand a day earlier and the Dodgers finished without Hanley Ramirez, who was taken out in the ninth — also after getting struck on the left hand.
Gonzalez leads the National League with 38 road RBIs. He missed a chance earlier, flying out with the bases loaded to end the fourth. J.P Howell (2-3) got the last out in the eighth and Kenley Jansen finished for his 28th save in 31 chances.
Rosenthal (1-5) struggled pitching on the third consecutive day after earning saves the first two games. Peter Bourjos' two-run homer off Kershaw tied it in the sixth.
Kershaw gave up three runs in seven innings, ending an equally impressive streak of winning eight straight starts. He lost his previous four starts in St. Louis, the last two in the NLCS. Manager Don Mattingly said before the game that he had no doubt that bitterness lingered from Game 6 last fall when Kershaw was tagged for seven runs in four innings and the Dodgers were eliminated.
Kershaw was booed before flying out to end the sixth, a byproduct of dueling hit batsmen two innings earlier. Both benches were warned after Carlos Martinez drilled Hanley Ramirez in the shoulder and Matt Holliday was plunked by Kershaw leading off the bottom half.
The highlight of the Dodgers' fruitless fourth was Kershaw's first career stolen base — his first attempt, too. Kershaw was running on a 1-1 pitch in the dirt and took second without a play with two outs and they loaded the bases before Adrian Gonzalez, who leads the National League with 37 road RBIs, flied out.
Shelby Miller had made 50 consecutive starts over two seasons before entering in the sixth, and he was taken out after the first two Dodgers reached in the seventh. Coming out of the All-Star break, Miller was moved to the bullpen.
NOTES: The Cardinals have a day off Monday before beginning a two-game interleague series against the Rays. Ace Adam Wainwright (12-4, 1.83) is set for Tuesday against Jake Odorizzi (5-8, 4.01) and manager Mike Matheny is undecided on a starter for Wednesday. ... Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-5, 3.44) starts for the Dodgers Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Edinson Volquez (8-6, 3.65). Ryu is 6-2 with a 2.75 ERA on the road and 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA in nine starts against the NL Central. ... Kemp made an outstanding diving catch in left to rob Matt Adams of a bloop hit in the sixth.
Link to box score: Los Angeles Dodgers (55-45) 4 at St. Louis (54-45) 3
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