The Cardinals don't have Manny Ramirez, but they have Albert Pujols, who is apparently motivated by the head-to-head competition. He saw Manny's single and homer, then banged out two singles, a double, a grand slam homer and knocked in four runs to boost his average to .352, which is Stan Musial country.
Ryan Ludwick, who is neither Manny nor Albert -- at least not yet -- smacked a home run in his fifth straight game to pull within one of Mark McGwire's record of six straight games.
However, that was over two seasons in 1997 and 1998, connecting in the first four games during his 70-homer season in ‘98. Other Cardinals to homer in five straight games are Jim Edmonds (2004), Rip Collins (1935) and Jim Bottomley (1929).
Ramirez, whose every move continues to be booed by the normally fair St. Louis fans, smacked his 513th home run, his third as a Dodger, moving past Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Ernie Banks into 20th on the all-time list. He also singled in a run.
Ramirez is hitting .600 (12-for-20) with three homers and six runs batted in over five game since joining the Dodgers. Extending that performance over a 162-game schedule would give him 97 home runs and 194 runs batted in, obviously a bogus number but one that illustrates just how hot Manny is right now.
Derek Lowe (8-10), who can put St. Louis on his list alongside Denver as "Wanta' Get Away?" places, was battered for 13 hits and eight of the nine Cardinal runs in only 3.1 innings.
The bullpen shut the Cardinals down; Ramon Troncoso, Brian Falkenborg, Joe Beimel and Chan Ho Park allowed four hits and a single run in 5.2 innings but, as they say in St. Louis, "the hay was in the barn by then."
The eight runs allowed is one the worst start of Lowe's career and he added a pair of wild pitches to the 13 hits given up. Previous to this start he had allowed only two runs in 14.1 innings.
Lowe left the game 1-6 with a 6.69 earned run average against St. Louis and 0-3, 8.80 in the third version of Busch Stadium.
After Pujols' fourth-inning grand slam the Cardinals were in complete control until the eighth inning.
Trailing 9-4, Russell Martin singled and after Ramirez popped out, he scored on James Loney's double. With Pedro Ozuna coming up, Manager Joe Torre sent Mark Sweeney up to hit for him just as Cardinal Pitching Coach Dave Duncan went to the mound to talk to reliever Brad Thompson.
The plate umpire looked at Torre for confirmation that Sweeney was actually the pinch-hitter and at that moment, Sweeney stepped into the batter's box, officially putting himself in the game. Torre signaled to the umpire that Jeff Kent was to be the pinch-hitter, just as officially putting Sweeney out of the game.
Torre hadn't pointed at Sweeney, who was now digging into the box while the plate umpire had his back turned toward the visiting dugout, and, not noticing Sweeney, he told Torre, no, Sweeney isn't in the game.
But the Cardinals pointed out Sweeney was in the batter's box and that made it official.
Semi-confusing but it was the right call. Torre based his protest on the fact the ump said Sweeney wasn't in the game but a under the rules, he had put himself in the game by stepping into the box.
"I don't know how the protest can be upheld," Torre said. "But to me, when an umpire tells me something, I think if I can't believe an umpire, how can I go about my business?"
The entire thing was anti-climatic when Kent struck out and Angel Berroa popped up ending the threat, the inning and in actuality, the game.
The Dodgers have lost four of six games and fall to 56-57. Since Arizona lost 2-0 to Pittsburgh, they remain 2 1/2 behind the DBacks.
Score by innings Los Angeles 021 000 120-6 St. Louis 102 500 10x-9 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Kemp cf 5 1 2 1 .295 Ethier rf 5 0 0 0 .271 Martin c 5 1 1 0 .293 Ramirez lf 4 1 2 2 .600 Loney 1b 4 1 1 1 .299 Blake 3b 4 0 3 1 .375 Ozuna 2b 3 1 0 0 .167 Sweeney ph 0 0 0 0 .114 Kent ph-2b 1 0 0 0 .256 Berroa ss 4 1 2 1 .216 Lowe p 2 0 0 0 .178 Troncoso p 0 0 0 0 .000 Jones ph 1 0 0 0 .164 Falkenborg 0 0 0 0 .000 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Park p 0 0 0 0 .000 Pierre ph 0 0 0 0 .279 Totals 38 6 11 6 St. Louis 38 9 17 8 2b hits- Kemp (26), Blake 2 (6), Berroa (5), Loney (28). 3b hits- Berroa (1). HR- Ramirez (3). RBI- Ramirez 2 (7), Berroa (5), Kemp (61), Loney (63), Blake (4). LOB- Los Angeles 6, St. Louis 9. DP- Blake, Ozuna and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Lowe (8-10) 3.1 13 8-8 0 2 4.10 Troncoso 2.2 1 0-0 2 2 4.56 Falkenborg 0.1 1 1-1 0 0 6.17 Beimel 0.2 1 0-0 1 1 1.97 Park 1.0 1 0-0 0 0 2.70 WP- Lowe 2. T- 2:56. Att- 42,581.