Who's On Third Now?

A pair of injuries just minutes apart sent third baseman Nomar Garciaparra and Andy LaRoche to the clubhouse. Garciaparra, who had homered, was hit on the thumb on his next plate appearance in the fourth inning and LaRoche caught a throw from the catcher on his wrist in the top of the fifth.

The Dodger training staff reported that xrays did not disclose any broken bones but manager Joe Torre said neither of them would make the trip to Jupiter to play St. Louis today (Saturday).

A stiff wind blowing out helped teams. It boosted Cardinal four solo home runs out of the park and three Dodger shots, giving St. Louis a 6-4 decision. Chad Billingsley was tagged four three of the homers in his three innings and took the loss.

"Billingsley just got the ball up," manager Joe Torre said of the young right handers second outing of the season. "When he got it down, he was all right."

Jason Johnson, who is in the thick of the fight for the fifth starting slot, allowed no hits and an unearned run in his two innings.

Torre told reporters after the game that Schmidt would not be ready for the season's opener and that Johnson, Kuo, Park and Loaiza are all in the running for the fifth spot.

"We'll chose the one with the best equipment," he added.

Colby Rasmus and Albert Pujols slammed shots in the first inning. The blast by Pujols was rumored to have landed somewhere near Yeehaw Junction west of Vero Beach.

Garciaparra answered with one of his own in the second before D'Angelo Jiminez smacked the third St. Louis homer in the third.

In the bottom of the fourth, James Loney singled up the middle and Andrew Jones slashed a double inside the bag at third but pulled up at first base with single.

With one out, Garciaparra was nailed on the thumb of his right hand and left the game in obvious pain.

Los Angeles could only manage a single run on Matt Kemp's fielder's choice, out of the bases-loaded situation.

In the top of the fifth the Cardinals scored without a hit. Two walks and an attempted two-out steal of third saw LaRoche hit on the wrist by a bad throw from catcher Dan Ardoin.

The ball bounced away, the run scored and LaRoche left.

Rick Ankiel hit Jonathan Broxton's first pitch over the left field fence in the sixth but Andre Ethier took the team lead in home runs with his second in the bottom of the inning.

After Ethier homered, the third third baseman of the game, Angel Chavez, hit a shot nearly as long as any of the previous home runs but it was mostly up and down.

Helped by the same wind, the ball landed untouched in the grass behind second base for a double. Tony Abreu, playing for the first time this season, beat out a one out hit but again the Dodgers left them on base.

After seven innings the Cardinals led four solo homer to three for the Dodgers.

Joe Beimel added a scoreless inning, Yhency Brazoban surrendered three hits and a run ("couldn't find his location" Torre noted) and Scott Proctor pitched a scoreless ninth.

Jones slugged his first Dodger home run over the berm in left-center field to cut the Cardinal lead to 5-4 but they could get no closer.

To again how fickle the baseball gods are, Lucas May, one of the heros of Thursday's win, made the final out in the eighth.

The Dodgers slipped to 3-6-1 with the loss and travel South to play St. Louis in the second half of the home and home schedule.

Hiroki Kurdoa, Greg Miller, Mike Koplove, Justin Orenduff, Mario Alvarez, Tanyon Sturtz and Tom Martin are scheduled to pitch.
 Score by innings
St. Louis	201 101 100-6
Los Angeles	010 101 100-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	4  0  0  0  .280
 Paul lf-cf	1  0  0  0  .182
Furcal ss	3  0  0  0  .176
 Hu ss	        1  0  0  0  .154
Loney 1b	4  1  2  0  .391
 Martinez 1b	1  0  0  0  ,214
Jones cf	4  1  2  1  .211
 Repko rf	0  0  0  0  .286
Ethier rf	4  1  2  1  .273
 Lombard pr-lf	0  0  0  0  .500
Garciaparra 3b	1  1  1  1  .375
 LaRoche 3b	0  0  0  0  .359
 Chavez 3b	2  0  1  0  .222
Kemp dh	        4  0  0  0  .304
Abreu 2b	3  0  1  0  .333 
 Young pr-2b	1  0  0  0  .056
Ardoin c	3  0  1  0  .250	
 May ph-c	1  0  0  0  .400
  Totals	34 4 10 4
  St. Louis	36 6 12 5

 Errors- Johnson (2), Ardoin. 
2b hits- Loney (3), Chavez (1).
HR- Garciaparra (1), Ethier (2),
Jones (1). RBI- Garciaparra (4),
Kemp (2), Ethier (3), Jones (2).
LOB- St. Louis 7, Los Angeles 8.
DP- Abreu, Loney; Hu, Young and

 Los Angeles	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (L)	3.0  5  3-3  1  4  7.20
Johnson	        2.0  0  1-0  2  1  0.00
Broxton	        1.0  1  1-1  1  1  4.50
Beimel	        1.0  2  0-0  0  1  9.00
Brazoban	1.0  3  1-1  1  0  4.50
Proctor	        1.0  1  0-0  0  1  4.50
 HB- Garciaparra. T- 2:48. Att- 6,789.
Kershaw the Fifth Starter
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com poses the question, "Is Clayton Kershaw ready right now to be the sought-after fifth starter>"

Russell Martin told him, I Wouldn't be surprised. For the first time in a big league game, wow! He's got a heavy, heavy ball and an easy delivery. He's very deceptive. His curveball, it just drops off the table. I think it is the best curveball I've ever caught, to be honest.

"He keeps the ball down and you can see he's a tremendous competitor, giving up a home run to the first batter, getting into a bases-loaded jam, and bearing down to strike out two guys to get out of it.

"A lefthander throwing 97 with a power curve, that is pretty unique."

"I wouldn't be shocked," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt told Gurnick. His stuff is there -- it's electric."

Dodger Blue Notes-- Jeff Kent says if it was the regular season, he could play now but said he wouldn't play any exhibition games for week "because I have time, I can take time." ...Rick Monday raised the flag in centerfield and threw out the first ball before the Friday game with St.Louis. ... a 97 mph wind missed Vero Beach Friday night, with two inches of rain and "hurricane conditions" centered in the Jupiter area south of Vero. ...Dodger Minor League Assistant GM, Player Development noted that there are 135 minor league players in came now and 50 of them are pitchers. They were given an indoctrination with much of the brass on hand, including speeches by Tommy Lasorda, Watson and GM Ned Colletti.

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