Cards Complete Sweep

Here's how things go when they are going bad: trailing 3-1 in the third inning, starter Jeff Weaver led off with a triple and was stranded as the Dodgers, despite a game-tying three-run rally in the ninth, dropped their third game of the series to a Cardinal team that many say is the strongest in baseball. The Dodgers are hoping for redemption, hosting St. Louis after Arizona comes in for a three-game series starting Tuesday.

Adrian Beltré continued his heroics, slugging his 44th homer with one out in the second inning and moving into second on the all-time franchise single-season list behind Green's 49.

The Dodgers finished 6-7 on a four-city, 13-game, 14-day battle, their longest trip of the season. The Dodgers (78-58), who left Los Angeles with a 4 1/2 -game lead, are now 3 1/2 games ahead of the Giants, who gained three games in three days by sweeping the last-place Diamondbacks.

Beltré batted .400 with six homers and 14 runs batted in on the trip, but no other everyday player made a major contribution. Green was two for four Sunday, but batted .214 overall. Steve Finley was hitless in 12 at-bats against the Cardinals and batted .207 on the trip. Milton Bradley batted .214 with 14 strikeouts, increasing his team-high total to 103.

Trailing 5-2, the Dodgers tied the game in the ninth inning, scoring as many runs in the inning as they had in the previous two losses to the Cardinals.

Shawn Green led off the ninth-inning comeback with a single to right and went to third on Ventura's single. After Alex Cora and pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz struck out, the Dodgers were down by three and down to their last out.

Pinch-hitter Jayson Werth singled up the middle for one run and on the first pitch Hernandez doubled into the right-field corner to score Ventura and Werth. However, they stranded the potential go-ahead runner at third when Steve Finley fouled out.

Eric Gagné worked two perfect innings to take the game into the 11th, and then the Cardinals, who have now won nine in a row and are nearly 50 games over .500, banged Giovanni Carrara for a triple and a single -- lights out, game over.

Jeff Weaver was roughed up for five runs in six innings, the most runs he's allowed since June 12.

The Dodgers scored in the fifth when David Ross was hit by a pitch, was bunted to second by Weaver and scored when Hernandez singled inside first base.

Dodger Blue Notes--Odalis Perez took his bullpen session and is expected to make his next scheduled start Wednesday night, despite coming out of his Thursday night start after five innings with tightness in his biceps tendon. ... Word from Dodgertown indicated that the Spring Training complex survived Hurricane Frances relatively intact, with no injuries reported. However, the Holman Stadium field was flooded and the scoreboard destroyed by high winds. ... Edwin Jackson completed his injury rehab assignment with his best start, allowing all four runs in one of five innings. Jackson also gave up three hits, walked four, struck out three and tossed a wild pitch. He threw 87 pitches, 52 for strikes. He is expected to rejoin the Major League club this week, along with a handful of other September callups. ... Volatile Kevin Brown underwent surgery on his broken left hand Sunday after breaking two bones in his non-pitching hand when he punched a wall in the Yankee clubhouse during Friday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles. ... The Boston Red Sox called up former Dodger pitcher Pedro Astacio from AAA, giving their bullpen another veteran right-hander. Astacio, 34, has been rehabilitating from right shoulder surgery since June 2003. ... The San Diego Padres brought back right-hander Andy Ashby and plan to use him out of the bullpen. The Padres purchased his contract after he successfully rehabbed his right elbow from Tommy John surgery, performed Oct. 20. He last pitched in the majors for the Dodgers in 2003, going 3-10 with a 5.18 ERA.