Game 36 – Cardinals 8, Dodgers 4

Brad Thompson received rare balanced offensive support and went 6 2/3 innings for the win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles Monday night.

On Monday night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the St. Louis Cardinals' Brad Thompson (2-0) bested former Cardinal Brett Tomko as the former received unusually generous run support from the offense. With the win, the Cards improved to 16-20 on the season.

Adam Kennedy and Chris Duncan led off the game with singles to put runners at the corners. Though Albert Pujols couldn't come through, Jim Edmonds' check-swing bloop double to left scored Kennedy. Scott Rolen's sacrifice fly to deep center scored the second run and the third came home on Juan Encarnacion's RBI single.

In the second, David Eckstein doubled and a batter later, came home on Kennedy's two-base hit. Duncan's home run, the first by a Cardinal since he did it on May 1, was good for two more tallies.

Rolen led off the third with a double that bounced off the left field wall for the Cards' fifth extra-base hit in just three innings. He scored on Molina's single past the diving second baseman Jeff Kent. Even some of the lifeless Dodgers fans booed Tomko as he departed from the game down by seven runs.

Still in the third, Eckstein greeted Rudy Seanez with a single. Thompson bunted the runners over. Run number eight scored on a wild pitch, the final runner for which Tomko was liable.

The Dodgers threatened in the home third as Andre Ethier led off with a single to right. One out later, Rafael Furcal singled through Thompson's legs. Neither scored.

Jeff Kent homered to dead center leading off the fourth inning to get the Dodgers on the board. It was the sixth long ball of the season yielded by Thompson, a potential problem area for the fill-in fifth starter.

The home team threatened again in the sixth, as Nomar Garciaparra reached on Eckstein's throwing error and Kent singled. Luis Gonzalez obliged by grounding into a double play.

Edmonds singled up the middle and Rolen dropped a dunker to center off Chin-Hui Tsao in the seventh. Encarnacion fanned to end the scoring chance.

Wilson Betemit hit a solo home run, a line drive that just cleared the wall in right with one out in the home seventh. When Ethier doubled next, the bullpen got up in a hurry. Furcal's RBI single ended Thompson's night at 6 2/3 innings. Tyler Johnson then stopped the rally. Brad allowed eight hits, but no walks on an efficient 79 pitches, of which 58 were strikes. Despite the two long balls allowed, Thompson's season ERA is a respectable 4.03.

Olmedo Saenz greeted Ryan Franklin with a double in the eighth as Duncan struggled to pick up the ball against the wall in left. Franklin dodged any further trouble, however, improving his season ERA to 1.13.

Randy Flores was asked to finish off the home team in the ninth, but made it interesting by allowing a trio of singles to load the bases while getting only one out. Jason Isringhausen was needed to end the game, securing his tenth save of the season in the process. But, he walked in a run before getting that 27th out.

Adam Wainwright faces Derek Lowe Tuesday night in the second of the three-game midweek series. Kip Wells and Randy Wolf go Wednesday.

Game Notes:

- Isringhausen has saved ten of the Cardinals 16 wins on the season.

- With the victory, the Cardinals have now defeated the Dodgers in ten straight meetings.

- Oddly, despite 13 team hits, Pujols was the only St. Louis position player without a safety Monday, going 0-for-5. He was one of two Cards without a run scored and one of two lacking an RBI.

- In a balanced team offensive performance, Duncan was the only Cardinal with more than one RBI and one of two Cardinals with more than one hit, with two each. David Eckstein had three hits in a very welcome sight. It was his first three-hit-or-more game of the 2007 season to-date.

- To continue the shutout story line of recent days, the Cards were held without a run Sunday for a major league-leading sixth time. It was the fourth time this month and second time in three games. The Cardinals have been outscored 43-0 in the six shutout defeats. In contrast, they were blanked just eight times in 161 games last season.

- Including Monday, the Cardinals have posted a 15-3 mark (.833) when scoring three or more runs. However, they are just 1-17 (.056) when plating fewer then three runs.

- The Cardinals' 16-20 start to the year is their worst since 1986 when they were 14-22 after 36 games on their way to a 79-82 season. It was a train wreck of a year sandwiched in between World Series appearances for the Redbirds.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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