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Dodgers haunted by same issues in 3-1 loss to Cardinals in Game 3

Old stories, just old painful stories for the Dodgers. Matt Carpenter homers, bullpen implodes, Dodgers lose.

One more like that, and they can call it a season. The Dodgers just can't call rewrite, can't figure out a new script to their postseason.

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Their failings were all on display again Monday night in St. Louis, the Dodgers falling 3-1 to the Cardinals in Game 3 of their division series at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals now lead the best-of-five series, 2-1, and will attempt to close it out Tuesday.

The Dodgers got everything they could realistically ask out of left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who had thrown one inning in the last month.

Ryu went six strong innings, holding the Cardinals to one run on the seemingly required home run to Carpenter. Ryu was actually rather remarkable, and it still wasn't enough.

In his six innings, he gave up five hits and a walk, striking out four.

Trouble is, six is still two innings shy of the eight it takes to get the ball to closer Kenley Jansen. And the instant the Dodgers went to their bullpen, the game was lost.

Carpenter hit his third home run in as many games in the third inning, but the Dodgers tied it off John Lackey in the sixth after Yasiel Puig interrupted his strikeout barrage with a lead-off triple. He scored on a double from Hanley Ramirez.

But it took Ryu 94 pitches to get through the sixth, so to start the seventh, Manager Don Mattingly called on Scott Elbert. And that was pretty much that.

Not that it was Elbert's fault. The fact that Mattingly would go to him in such a crucial situation tells you everything about the Dodgers' bullpen. Elbert was coming off his third elbow surgery this season. He had thrown only 4 1/3 innings for the Dodgers all season.

Yadier Molina greeted his first pitch with a double. He was bunted to third before Kolten Wong, a left-handed hitter, drilled a go-ahead two-run homer into the Cardinals bullpen.

The Cardinals, who ranked 29th in home runs during the regular season, now lead all teams in the postseason with seven.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, could never really get the offense going against Lackey. They had one hit in 11 attempts with runners in scoring position.

Lackey, the former Angel, went seven excellent innings. He allowed one run on five hits and a walk, while striking out eight.

Going seven innings allowed the Cardinals to go to their desired late-inning routine. Pat Neshek threw a scoreless eighth and closer Trevor Rosenthal, a rocky but still scoreless ninth.

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That's a consistent approach that Mattingly has never been able to embrace all season. When the Cardinals loaded the bases in the eighth, J.P. Howell was able to turn a terrific double play, but there would be no offensive surge in the ninth.

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