Kershaw Dominates Cards, Ramirez Homers Again

Clayton Kershaw (2-3) crafted his third straight quality start, holding St. Louis to a single run while pitching seven innings and striking out seven. He allowed a run in the fifth inning to break a 17-inning scoreless streak and has now allowed one run in his last 22 innings. The 4-1 win helped the Dodgers avoid a sweep by the Cardinals and closed to two full games behind idle Arizona.

Kershaw, the Dodgers #1 pick of the 2006 draft and the seventh selected overall, worked around four walks, two in the first inning, in his 12th start of the season. It was the first time he has pitched seven inning and he broke the 100 pitch mark (108) for the first time.

Manny Ramirez slugged his fourth home run in six games for the Dodgers, a two-run shot in the third inning with Jeff Kent on base with a single. Kent had doubled and scored in the first inning on James Loney's single.

Juan Pierre pulled a triple into the right field corner with two out to score Danny Ardoin to account for the Dodgers' fourth run. Angel Berroa had opened the inning with a single and had been forced at second base by Ardoin.

From that point the Dodgers' bats went silent. Over the next four innings they were 1-for-16 with only Kent's third hit, a single just over the glove of Aaron Miles at second, marring the streak.

Kershaw has been nearly untouchable since returning from Jacksonville for his second around in the Major Leagues. He has allowed 11 hits and one run over his last 19 innings.

Along with a Cardinals team that scored 15 runs and batted .381 during the first two games of the series, Kershaw also stopped Ryan Ludwick's consecutive home run streak at five games.

However, Ludwick singled off Jonathan Broxton in the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.

Former Dodger shortstop Cesar Izturis got the first hit off Kershaw in the third inning and then knocked in the first and only St. Louis run in the fifth.

Only youthful exuberance cost him cost him the run. With two out in the fifth, Aaron Miles scuffed a ball down the third base line that appeared to be rolling foul. Kershaw dashed over, slid on his knees and attempted to make a play but the ball eluded him and went for a hit.

A passed ball moved him to second and Izturis singled to right field to drive the run in.

The Dodgers ripped St. Louis ace Kyle Lohse early in the game, ringing up four runs on six hits in four innings and handing him his fourth loss to go with 13 wins.

Hong-Chih Kuo tossed a perfect eighth, dropping his ERA to 1.82 and Jonathan Broxton took over in the ninth and pitched just as one would expect after six days off.

Broxton gave the Dodgers a shaky moment when he allowed a single, wild pitched the runner to second before a ground ball that moved him to third. He then walked the next Cardinal who promptly stole second.

Now looking the tying run at the plate in the form of Rick Ankiel, Broxton went 3-2 on him and then struck him out on a 97 mph fastball that was up and out of the zone. He also fanned the final batter to record his sixth save.

Lohse allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings, missing a chance to match his career high for victories set in 2003.

The remarkable Mr. Ramirez boomed his 514th career homer into the seats to the right of the bullpen in left field, walked, flew to right field and bounced into a double play, "dropping" his batting average to a mere .565.

The Dodgers move into the friendly confines of AT&T Park in San Francisco (irony intended) for a three-game go with the Giants.

Pitching matchups for the opening game tonight include a pair of veterans who have fallen on hard times this year. Brad Penny is just coming off an extended stay on the disable list and has won five of 14 decisions.

Barry Zito, he of the $126 million contract, brings a 6-13 record into the meeting between these two ancient enemies.

Tonight: Brad Penny, (5-9, 5.88) at Giants Barry Zito), (6-13, 5.40)
?Saturday: Hiroki Kuroda, (6-8, 4.21) at Giants Kevin Correia), (2-6, 5.53)
?Sunday: Chad Billingsley, (11-9, 3.01) at Giants (Matt Cain, 7-9, 3.60), 1:05 p.m. PT 

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	102 100 000-4	
St. Louis	001 010 000-1

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre cf	4  0  1  1  .279
 Jones cf	0  0  0  0  .164
Kemp rf	        4  0  0  0  .293
Kent 2b	        4  2  3  0  .261
 Ozuna pr-2b	0  0  0  0  .167
Ramirez lf	3  1  1  2  .565
Loney 1b	4  0  1  1  .298
Blake 3b	4  0  0  0  .341
Berroa ss	4  0  1  0  .217
Ardoin c	4  1  1  0  .214
Kershaw p	3  0  0  0  .000
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	34 4 8 4
  St. Louis	30 1 4 1

 Two base hit- Kent (19). Three base hits- 
Pierre (2). HR- Ramirez (4). RBI-- Loney (64),
 Ramirez 2 (9). Pierre (25). LOB- Los Angeles 
4, St. Louis 7. DP- Loney and Kershaw.  	

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era 
Kershaw (2-3)	7.0  3  1-1  4  7  3.71
Kuo        	1.0  0  0-0  0  1  1.82
Broxton (sv 6)	1.0  1  0-0  1  2  3.04
 WP- Kershaw, Broxton. T- 2:33. Att- 40,500.
Furcal Ready to Sign
Rafael Furcal's agent said he is hoping for the Dodgers and the shortstop to come to a quick agreement on a new contract this winter.

"They're definitely the No. 1 choice," Paul Kinzer said. He said the back injury to Furcal, which required surgery, postponed talks of an extension and probably lowered his price tag.

Furcal is in the final year of a three-year, $39-million deal. "This wasn't their fault or our fault that this happened," Kinzer said. "If this hadn't happened, we probably would have something done by now."

Withrow Ready for Action
Ken Gurnick of reports that the Dodgers have activated 2007 first-round Draft pick Chris Withrow, who has been been out all season with arm and control problems.

Withrow, a 19-year-old right-hander out of Midland (Tex.) Christian High School, was the 19th overall pick last year and signed for a $1.35 million bonus. He was limited to only nine innings in six professional games after being drafted because of concerns with his elbow.

This June, Withrow was close to being assigned to a Minor League roster, but suffered another setback. He continued throwing at Inland Empire under the coaching of Charlie Hough.

After a series of injuries sidetracked the careers of first-round pitchers Greg Miller and Scott Elbert, the club was extra cautious bringing back Withrow. Miller continues his comeback at Las Vegas, while Elbert is throwing hard again at Jacksonville and could earn a September callup.

Old Dodger Friend Doing Well
Techalt, Inc. reports that its licensed sports product, SRO (Stan's Rodeo Ointment), is used by many Major League Baseball teams on tough skin wounds.

The sports cream product is designed to accelerate the healing time for abrasions, lacerations, blisters and other open wounds to the skin, while diminishing the pain that often results from such injuries. It is currently available by prescription and used by prominent Olympic and professional athletes.

Techalt also acquired the rights to develop Stan's Blister Rub ("SBR"), which is a combination of materials that strengthen the skin after it has healed to reduce the likelihood of the reoccurrence of blisters to the applied area. Patent protection has been filed covering the formulations and processing of SRO with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Currently 26 teams are using SRO with players supporting the use of the product, including Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, Hong Chi Kuo, Trevor Hoffman, Eric Gagne and many others.

Stan Johnston, SRO's developer, was an athletic trainer for the Dodgers for 23 years, and now through SRO contributes to the health and well-being of athletes around the world.