Monday’s Game Report: Dodgers 9, Cardinals 4
By Rob Rains
The good feeling that came when Dylan Carlson hit a two-run homer off Trevor Bauer in the top of the sixth inning, putting the Cardinals ahead 3-2, did not even last through the rest of the inning Monday night in Los Angeles.
First, Jack Flaherty had to come out of the game after experiencing “tightness” in his left side, and then the bullpen allowed four runs in the bottom of the inning that sent the Dodgers to the win.
Flaherty said he first felt his side tighten up while pitching in the fifth inning, and then felt it again while taking a swing during his at-bat in the sixth, when the decision was made to pull him from the game.
Flaherty will undergo further examinations on Tuesday.
“Clearly we’re hopeful that it’s nothing too serious,” said manager Mike Shildt. “Obviously was bothering him tonight and impacted him coming out of the game.”
It took seven batters in the bottom of the inning to turn that 3-2 lead into a 6-3 deficit as Genesis Cabrera walked two, including one with the bases loaded, and then gave up a double to Chris Taylor that cleared the bases.
Taylor’s hit came on the 14th pitch of his at-bat after he fouled off nine pitches.
“We needed a shut down inning there,” Shildt said. “Some nights it just doesn’t happen.”
Flaherty was still in the dugout, but already out of the game, when Carlson homered.
“I was excited, I was pumped,” Flaherty said before the lead soon evaporated.
The loss dropped the Cardinals out of first place in the NL Central, one-half game behind the Cubs. The Cardinals had been alone in first since May 3.
Here is how Monday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Carlson’s homer, his second in as many games, was one of three hit by the Cardinals that produced all of their four runs. Justin Williams homered off the right field foul pole, also in the sixth, and Tyler O’Neill hit his team-leading 12th in the seventh … Carlson’s homer came after Tommy Edman had reached on an error … The Cardinals had only two hits besides the three homers, a leadoff double by Edman in the first and an infield single by Williams in the seventh.
On the mound: Flaherty allowed only two hits in his five innings, back-to-back homers by Gavin Lux and Taylor in the second. He struck out nine, including five in a row at one point … Ryan Helsley started the sixth with a ground out, but then gave up a double and single and Cabrera was summoned from the bullpen. A walk loaded the bases, and then another walk brought in the tying run. After a strikeout, Taylor’s double cleared the bases … The Dodgers added three more runs off Daniel Ponce de Leon and Seth Elledge in the eighth, including another double by Taylor and the second home run by Lux.
Key stat: The Cardinals have now walked 15 batters with the bases loaded in their first 54 games. Among the available data, there has only been one year when the Cardinals issued more bases-loaded walks in a full season, 17 in 1974. They have now walked more hitters than they have allowed hits (15 to 14) when the bases were loaded this season.
Worth noting: The Cardinals top pitching prospect, Matthew Liberatore, started for Team USA on Monday night against Nicaragua in the first game of the tournament that will qualify teams for the Olympics. He allowed one run in five innings and got the win as the US won 7-1 … Lux became the first Dodger to hit two homers in a game against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium since Corey Seager on May 15, 2016; only the second to do it since 2004 … The Cardinals had a 16-12 record in May and are 30-24 after 54 games, the one-third mark of the season.
Looking ahead: John Gant will get the start tonight in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains