Are all early-season victories created equally?
Might have a difficult time getting the Dodgers to believe it after they overcame a record road scoreless streak, an early no-hit bid by Michael Wacha and, of course, the St. Louis Cardinals for a 5-1 victory on a rainy Saturday night at Busch Stadium.
This was a team that badly needed a victory, particularly on the road and against the Cards. And early on it looked like more road pain, the Dodgers trailing 1-0 on an unearned run.
But the Dodgers finally ended their club-record scoreless road streak at 42 innings with four runs in the sixth, sparked by a three-run homer by Yasmani Grandal, who had just been activated off the seven-day concussion disabled list.
Carlos Frias – who was rocked for 10 runs on 12 hits in the four innings of his last start – did the rest on the mound, holding the Cardinals to five hits in his seven outstanding innings.
The Dodgers had been shut out in four consecutive road games and Wacha – who entered the game 7-0 – continued the scoreless streak for five innings, holding them hitless in the process.
Justin Turned ended the no-hit bid with a one-out double off the right field wall. He advanced to third on a Wacha wild pitch to Adrian Gonzalez, who put together one of the best at-bats of the night. Gonzalez worked Wacha for a 12-pitch at-bat, pushing his pitch count over 100 before getting hit by a pitch.
Howie Kendrick, whose first-inning error had led to the game’s only run, singled into right to score Turner and tie it at 1-1. One out later, Grandal hit Wacha’s 112th pitch of the night out to center for his fifth home run of the season.
The 42-inning scoreless streak on the road is the major’s sixth longest all-time, and it surpassed the club record of 41 set by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1908.
The Dodgers added one more run in the eighth. After base hits by Kendrick and Andre Ethier, Alberto Callaspo picked up his first RBI as a Dodger with a pinch-hit single to right.
Frias was supported by three double plays, the biggest turned by Jimmy Rollins with two on in the bottom of the sixth. He fielded a Jhonny Peralta bouncer and threw from his knees to Kendrick at second, who turned it quickly for the double play.
Frias (4-2) threw 91 pitches in his seven innings, walking two and striking out three. Yimi Garcua and Adam Liberatore each threw a scoreless inning to complete the win.
The game’s start was delayed two hours and 20 minutes because of heavy rainfall, and then played in a frequent drizzle.
The Dodgers, who are 21-7 at home, raised their road record to 8-12 with the victory.