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Dodgers can’t jump start offense in series-finale loss to Cardinals

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Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws during the first inning.
Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin delivers during a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

The Dodgers’ offense can’t get going as they settle for a split of the four-game series.

Dodgers still mired in Giants’ wake after lackluster finale vs. Cardinals

Highlights from the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.

ST. LOUIS — The Dodgers are on the wrong side of a tight division race they didn’t expect, still trying to chase down their bitter rivals to the north even with the second-best record in the National League. If they don’t finish in first place, their World Series title defense could end Oct. 6 in the wild-card game. It’s a risk they want to avoid.

You wouldn’t have known that watching their 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. The Dodgers lacked urgency, from their lineup creation to the performance between the lines at Busch Stadium, as the offense continued its malaise, squandering another strong showing from the pitching staff against a middling club on the fringes of playoff contention.

The lackluster performance dropped them to 2½ games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West with 21 games remaining.

“Looking at where we’re at,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “it’s very disappointing.”

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Cardinals defeat the Dodgers, 2-1

Dodgers: Right-hander Giovanny Gallegos now pitching for the Cardinals. Bellinger popped to third. Corey Seager, batting for Souza, struck out swinging. Taylor struck out swinging.

Final score: Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1

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We go to the ninth, 2-1 Cardinals

Dodgers: Muncy flied to center. T.Turner flied to left. Right-hander Jaime Garcia now pitching for the Cardinals. J.Turner grounded to short.

Cardinals: Right-hander Kenley Jansen now pitching for the Dodgers. O’Neill struck out swinging. Arenado popped to third. Carlson grounded to first.

Score after eight: Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1

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It’s 2-1 Cardinals after seven innings

Dodgers: Left-hander T.J. McFarland now pitching for the Cardinals. Carlson in right field. Bader in center. Chris Taylor, batting for McKinney, flied to right. Barnes grounded to short. Albert Pujols, batting for the pitcher, walked on five pitches. Betts grounded to short, forcing Pujols.

Cardinals: Right-hander Joe Kelly now pitching for the Dodgers. Taylor in left. Souza in right. Knizner singled to center. Bader popped to short. Knizner moved to second on a balk. Edman struck out swinging. Goldschmidt flied to right.

Score after seven: Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1

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It’s 2-1 Cardinals after six innings

Dodgers: J.Turner flied to right. Bellinger struck out looking. Souza flied to right.

Cardinals: Left-hander Alex Vesia now pitching for the Dodgers. Carlson struck out swinging. Nootbaar struck out swinging. DeJong struck out swinging.

Score after six: Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1

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Cardinals take 2-1 lead in fifth inning

Dodgers: Right-hander Alex Reyes now pitching for the Cardinals. Knebel grounded to first. Betts singled to left. Muncy lined to center. T.Turner struck out swinging.

Cardinals: Right-hander Phil Bickford now pitching for the Dodgers. Edman grounded to third. Goldschmidt struck out swinging. O’Neill homered to left. Arenado grounded to third.

Score after five: Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1

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It’s 1-1 after four innings

Dodgers: Souza struck out looking. McKinney popped to short. Barnes flied to right.

Cardinals: Right-hander Corey Knebel now pitching for the Dodgers. Nootbaar popped to second. DeJong walked on seven pitches. DeJong stole second. Knizner struck out looking. Matt Carpenter, batting for Woodford, struck out swinging.

Score after four innings: Dodgers 1, Cardinals 1

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Dodgers tie it in third inning

Dodgers: Austin Barnes flied to right. Tony Gonsolin grounded to second. Betts walked on six pitches. Muncy doubled to left-center, Betts to third. T.Turner singled to left, Betts scoring, Muncy to third. J.Turner walked on five pitches. Bases loaded, two out. Bellinger flied to right.

Cardinals: Goldschmidt walked on five pitches. O’Neill flied to center. Arenado struck out swinging. Carlson struck out swinging.

Score after three: Dodgers 1, Cardinals 1

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Cardinals take 1-0 lead after two

Dodgers: Cody Bellinger struck out swinging. Steven Souza Jr. struck out swinging. Billy McKinney flied to left.

Cardinals: Dylan Carlson doubled to right. Lars Nootbaar grounded to second, Carlson to third. Paul DeJong walked on six pitches. Andrew Knizner doubled to center, Carlson scoring, DeJong to third. Jake Woodford grounded to first, DeJong out at home. First and third, two out. Edman grounded to second.

Score after two: Cardinals 1, Dodgers 0

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No score after one inning

Dodgers: Right-hander Jake Woodford pitching for the Cardinals. Mookie Betts flied to left. Max Muncy lined to right. Trea Turner doubled to left. Justin Turner flied to right.

Cardinals: Right-hander Tony Gonsolin pitching for the Dodgers. Tommy Edman grounded to third. Paul Goldschmidt singled to right. Tyler O’Neill struck out swinging. Nolan Arenado grounded to short.

Score after one: Dodgers 0, Cardinals 0

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Dodgers shake up their lineup up for series finale vs. Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — The Dodgers, seeking to snap out of an offensive funk going on three weeks, shook up their lineup a bit for Thursday’s series finale against the Cardinals.

Mookie Betts and Trea Turner swapped spots in the batting order. Betts will bat leadoff and Turner will hit third. Betts will also play second base for the Dodgers, who will have Will Smith, Corey Seager and Chris Taylor start on the bench for the day game.

Cody Bellinger is 0 for his last 20 with a .161 batting average this season but he’ll bat fifth. Steven Souza Jr. will play left field and bat sixth. He was added to the roster Tuesday because AJ Pollock strained his hamstring. Billy McKinney will play right field and bat seventh. He’s 6 for 49 (.122) since the start of August. Catcher Austin Barnes is batting .220 this season. He’ll bat eighth.

The Dodgers will field the unusual lineup against right-hander Jake Woodford two games behind the Giants in the National League West. Tony Gonsolin will start on the mound. It’ll be his first appearance since going on the injured list with shoulder inflammation July 31.

DODGERS (88-52)
Mookie Betts 2B
Max Muncy 1B
Trea Turner SS
Justin Turner 3B
Cody Bellinger CF
Steven Souza Jr. LF
Billy McKinney RF
Austin Barnes C
Tony Gonsolin P

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Cardinals defeat the Dodgers, 5-4

ST. LOUIS — It’s taken longer than he’s expected, a maddening process going on over two months, but Clayton Kershaw finally sees the light end of his tunnel. The left-hander, on the injured list since July 7 with elbow inflammation, will start Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.

“I feel like I’ve spent the past two months trying to get healthy,” Kershaw said. “Now I’ve got four or five days to learn how to pitch again. Hopefully it’s enough time.”

Kershaw’s impending comeback is slated to follow Tony Gonsolin’s activation and start Thursday. With their returns, the Dodgers hope Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals marked the final time they won’t have one of their top five starting pitchers appear in a game this season after falling two games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West with 22 games remaining.

“It’s going to be a huge boost,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

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Cardinals extend lead to 5-2 in eighth inning

Dodgers: Pujols grounded to short. Bellinger fouled to first. Justin Turner, batting for Feliz, flied to right.

Cardinals: Right-hander Shane Greene now pitching for the Dodgers. O’Neill homered to right. Arenado flied to left. Molina walked on six pitches. Nootbaar grounded to first, forcing Molina. Sosa struck out swinging.

Score after eight: Cardinals 5, Dodgers 2

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It’s 4-2 Cardinals after seven

Dodgers: Seager flied to left. Smith flied to right. Taylor grounded to third.

Cardinals: Right-hander Neftali Feliz now pitching for the Dodgers. Wainwright flied to center. Edman grounded to first. Goldschmidt grounded to third.

Score after seven: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2

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Dodgers close gap to 4-2 in sixth on Max Muncy’s homer

Dodgers: Billy McKinney, batting for White, struck out looking. T.Turner grounded to the pitcher. Muncy homered to right, estimated at 414 feet. Betts grounded to third.

Cardinals: O’Neill was hit by a pitch. Arenado popped to third. Molina lined to second. O’Neill took second on a wild pitch. Nootbaar walked on five pitches. Sosa hit a bouncer to third. Graterol dove and caught it, sliding on the turf. By the time he got up to throw, it was too late to get the runner. He might have been better off letting Muncy handle that one. Bases loaded, two out. Bader grounded to short.

Score after six: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2

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It’s 4-1 Cardinals after five innings

Dodgers: Taylor struck out swinging. Pujols grounded to short. Bellinger flied to center.

Cardinals: Wainwright struck out swinging. Edman lined to left. Goldschmidt grounded to first.

Score after five: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 1

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Cardinals take 4-1 lead in fourth inning

Dodgers: Betts grounded to short. Seager grounded to second. Smith grounded to short.

Cardinals: Arenado grounded to the pitcher. Yadier Molina singled to left and took second on Taylor’s error. Molina took third on a wild pitch. Nootbaar struck out swinging. Perez singled to center, scoring Molina. Bader grounded to third, forcing Perez.

Score after four: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 1

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Cardinals maintain 3-1 lead through three

Dodgers: Mitch White struck out swinging. T.Turner grounded to second. Muncy grounded to first.

Cardinals: Edman struck out swinging. Goldschmidt struck out swinging. O’Neill struck out swinging.

Score after three: Cardinals 3, Dodgers 1

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Tony Gonsolin to come off injured list Thursday

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws to the plate during the first inning.
Tony Gonsolin
(Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS — Tony Gonsolin will be activated from the injured list to pitch multiple innings out of the Dodgers’ bullpen Thursday against the Cardinals, manager Dave Roberts said. Julio Urías, previously listed as the starter Thursday, will start Friday against the Padres.

“Julio’s workload and getting Tony back on line and how it worked out, we just felt that we wanted to get Tony back on line,” Roberts said. “If you look out at planning out the rest of the season it just made sense for us and there was really no cost.”

Gonsolin, 27, has been on the injured list since July 31 with shoulder inflammation. The right-hander threw 41 pitches over 2 1/3 innings on rehab assignment with single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday. He has a 2.78 earned-run average in 10 games (nine starts) this season.

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It’s 3-1 Cardinals after two innings

Dodgers: Chris Taylor grounded to third. Albert Pujols grounded to third. Cody Bellinger flied to center.

Cardinals: Edmundo Sosa reached first on a throwing error by White. Harrison Bader grounded to short, forcing Sosa. Bader was caught stealing. Adam Wainwright flied to left.

Score after two: Cardinals 3, Dodgers 1

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Cardinals lead 3-1 after one inning

Dodgers: Right-hander Adam Wainwright pitching for the Cardinals. Trea Turner struck out swinging. Max Muncy singled to right. Mookie Betts singled to right, Muncy to second. Corey Seager doubled off the fence in left-center, Muncy scoring, Betts thrown out trying to score. Will Smith lined to the pitcher.

Cardinals: Right-hander Mitch White pitching for the Dodgers. Tommy Edman singled to center. Paul Goldschmidt singled to left, Edman to second. The runners stole second and third. Tyler O’Neill struck out looking. Nolan Arenado grounded to short, Edman scoring. Yadier Molina homered to left. Lars Nootbaar flied to center.

Score after one: Cardinals 3, Dodgers 1

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Clayton Kershaw to start Monday against Diamondbacks

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the third inning.
Clayton Kershaw
(Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS – It has taken longer than he’s expected, a maddening process going on over two months, but Clayton Kershaw finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel. The left-hander, on the injured list since July 7 with elbow inflammation, will start Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.

“I feel like I’ve spent the past two months trying to get healthy,” Kershaw said Monday before the Dodgers faced the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. “Now I’ve got four or five days to learn how to pitch again. Hopefully it’s enough time.”

Kershaw, 33, last pitched for the Dodgers on July 3, a rain-delay-shortened four-inning outing against the Washington Nationals. He was expected to return in early August, but he suffered a setback after throwing a three-inning simulated game in San Francisco on July 27.

The delay prompted uncertainty about his postseason status and whether he would return in time to assume a starter’s workload in October. But his second attempt to return hasn’t encountered any roadblocks, giving him a chance to return as a starter, not a reliever.

He checked the final box Tuesday when he threw 49 pitches over three innings on rehab assignment with triple-A Oklahoma City. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said four innings and/or 60 pitches is the target Monday. Kershaw could make up to three more starts on regular rest before the end of the regular season.

“Being hurt’s no fun,” Kershaw said. “I’ve said that before and then realizing the team that we have and the opportunity we have, from being around a little bit, you understand that you don’t really get this opportunity very much. So, I just wanted to be a part. I want to be a part of it however I can be.”

There’s a chance Kershaw won’t be a part of the Dodgers beyond 2021. The three-time Cy Young Award winner’s contract expires after the season. Kershaw acknowledged that he’s thought about his impending free agency and the possibility that his time in Los Angeles could be over soon.

“I can honestly say I have no idea what’s going to happen,” Kershaw said. “I really have no idea. So, I’m excited to pitch for now and I’m excited to pitch in the playoffs again. It’s something I don’t want to take for granted and I’ll figure it out from there.”

All he’s wanted for the last two months is a chance to help the Dodgers win another World Series. He’ll finally get it starting Monday.

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Albert Pujols gets rare start against right-hander Wednesday in St. Louis

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Betting odds and lines for Dodgers vs. Cardinals on Wednesday

The Dodgers used nine different pitchers Tuesday to beat the St. Louis Cardinals for a second straight game and will look to Mitch White on Wednesday to lend length and further improve on the Dodgers’ stretch of 23 wins in their last 29 games.

The team has lost White’s last two starts and the team is 7-11 when he has pitched. White has a 3.49 ERA overall but a 4.35 ERA on the road with four home runs and eight walks allowed across 20.2 innings away from Los Angeles.

The Cardinals counter with Adam Wainwright, who is having one of his best seasons with a 14-7 record and a 2.91 ERA at age 40. He has gone at least six innings in 16 of his last 17 starts with three runs or fewer allowed in all but one of those starts, with seven home runs allowed across 116.1 innings.

The Dodgers have played just three of their last 21 games over the total with four runs or fewer allowed in 26 of their last 30 games.

The Cardinals are 5-11 in their last 16 home games and are 2-9 on the run line in their last 11 games. The Dodgers are 32-16 since the All-Star break, tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the best record in the National League over the same span.

VSiN, the Sports Betting Network, offers more expert sports betting content in a free daily email at VSiN.com/email.

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Dodgers defeat the Cardinals, 7-2

ST. LOUIS—The scarce crowd stood for the man they came to see, the 41-year-old future first-ballot Hall of Famer who last starred here a decade ago before leaving them and a wound behind.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina stepped in front of home plate to give the fans at Busch Stadium for the Dodgers’ eventual 7-2 win time to show their love. They showered Albert Pujols with a 35-second standing ovation. He doffed his batting helmet to the crowd and tapped Molina’s shin guard with his bat. The close friends and former teammates, foes for four days this week, shared a half hug.

Then Pujols provided a familiar sight: a line drive over the left-field wall, in front of Big Mac Land, for the game’s first run. It was Pujols’ 679th career home run — his 207th in St. Louis and 113th at Busch Stadium’s latest iteration.

“I love these fans, they love me,” said Pujols, who finished 1 for 4. “There’s a lot of great history here so it’s always a special moment any time that I step in this stadium.”

The 386-foot blast off left-hander J.A. Happ was the first of the Dodgers’ four home runs en route to their second straight win over a Cardinals club gasping for air in the National League wild-card race.

“Storybook,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s one of those things that you hope could happen, but the likelihood is very improbable.”

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We go to the ninth, 5-2 Dodgers

Dodgers: Right-hander Kodi Whitley now pitching for the Cardinals. Pujols flied to right. Seager walked on seven pitches. Taylor popped to second. Smith singled to short. Max Muncy hit for Joe Kelly. Left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim replaced Whitley. Muncy struck out swinging.

Cardinals: Right-hander Blake Treinen now pitching for the Dodgers. O’Neill walked on four pitches. Arenado struck out swinging. Molina struck out swinging. Carpenter flied to center.

Score after eight: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 2

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It’s 5-2 Dodgers after seven

Dodgers: Right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon now pitching for the Cardinals. Mookie Betts, batting for Graterol, flied to right. T.Turner flied to center. J.Turner struck out looking.

Cardinals: Betts in right field. Right-hander Joe Kelly now pitching for the Dodgers. Lars Nootbaar, batting for Ponce de Leon, flied to center. Edman grounded to second. Carlson flied to center.

Score after seven: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 2

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Dodgers take 5-2 lead in sixth on Will Smith’s home run

Dodgers: Right-hander Alex Reyes now pitching for the Cardinals. Taylor struck out swinging. Smith homered to left, estimated at 393 feet. Souza struck out swinging. Bellinger grounded to the pitcher.

Cardinals: Right-hander Brusdar Graterol now pitching for the Dodgers. Carpenter struck out looking. DeJong grounded to short. Bader hit a slow roller in the plate and was thrown out by Smith.

Score after six: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 2

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Clayton Kershaw completes three-inning rehab start in minors; expected to return to Dodgers rotation Sunday

ST. LOUIS—Clayton Kershaw completed his three-inning rehabilitation start for triple-A Oklahoma City Tuesday night, giving up two earned runs and four hits, striking out three and walking none against Albuquerque. He threw 49 pitches, 34 for strikes.

“The stuff wasn’t that great tonight, but being back out there felt good, and I felt all right overall,” Kershaw said on a video call. “Hopefully I’ll bounce back [Wednesday] OK, throw a good bullpen and be ready to go for whatever comes next.”

Manager Dave Roberts said on Monday that if Kershaw, sidelined since July 7 because of elbow inflammation, came out of the start unscathed, he would be plugged into the rotation for his next turn. That would be Sunday against the San Diego Padres.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Kershaw said, when asked if his next start would be for the Dodgers. “I think that’s a discussion for [Wednesday]. I’ll be back in St. Louis, so I’ll talk to the guys and see what they want me to do.”

If Kershaw pitches Sunday, he would make three or four starts by the end of the regular season, which should give the left-hander time to build up enough endurance to throw six or seven innings by the playoffs.

“I think by the time October rolls around, I should be up to 100 pitches or so, which is the goal,” Kershaw said. “But it’s gonna take some work. I have to keep going and keep building.”

Kershaw, who went 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA in his first 18 starts for the Dodgers, striking out 127 and walking 19 in 106 1/3 innings, gave up a single and struck out a batter in a scoreless first inning Tuesday night.

He gave up another single and a two-run home to Albuquerque catcher Brian Serven in the second, a ball that was struck so decisively that Oklahoma City left fielder Matt Beaty barely moved as it soared over his head. Kershaw gave up a double and struck out one in a scoreless third.

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Dodgers take 4-2 lead on Justin Turner’s homer

Dodgers: T.Turner flied to center. J.Turner homered to left, estimated at 397 feet. Pujols lined to center. Seager struck out swinging.

Cardinals: Right-hander Phil Bickford now pitching for the Dodgers. Carlson struck out looking. O’Neill singled to left. Arenado flied to center. Molina flied to right.

Score after five: Dodgers 4, Cardinals 2

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Dodgers take 3-2 lead in the fourth

Dodgers: Seager singled to third. Taylor lined to left. Seager took second on a passed ball. Smith singled to left, Seager to third. Souza doubled to right, Seager scoring, Smith to third. Bellinger grounded to short, Smith scoring, Souza to third. Billy McKinney, batting for the pitcher, flied to left.

Cardinals: Right-hander Shane Greene now pitching for the Dodgers. DeJong doubled to center. Bader grounded to short. Happ grounded to first, DeJong to third. Edman flied to right.

Score after four: Dodgers 3, Cardinals 2

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Cardinals take 2-1 lead in third inning

Dodgers: Evan Phillips struck out looking. T.Turner doubled to right-center. J.Turner struck out swinging. Pujols flied to center.

Cardinals: Edman grounded to short. Carlson flied to left. O’Neill doubled to center. Arenado singled to left, O’Neill scoring. Molina singled to right, Arenado to second. Carpenter struck out looking.

Score after three: Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1

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It’s 1-1 after two innings

Dodgers: Chris Taylor popped to second. Will Smith singled to third. Steven Souza Jr. flied to right. Cody Bellinger flied to center.

Cardinals: Right-hander Evan Phillips now pitching for the Dodgers. Matt Carpenter grounded to first. Paul DeJong grounded to first. Harrison Bader walked on nine pitches. J.A. Happ grounded to second.

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Watch Albert Pujols homer in first inning against Cardinals

Albert Pujols still has a flair for the dramatic. Returning to St. Louis for just the second time since leaving to sign with the Angels, he homered to left field in his first at-bat Tuesday.

And the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

It was the Dodgers’ lone run in the first inning. The Cardinals countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, on a boring sacrifice fly.

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Dodgers slugger Albert Pujols to start at first base and bat third against Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — Dodgers first baseman Albert Pujols will bat third in Tuesday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, giving fans in Busch Stadium ample opportunity to shower the former Cardinals star with love and affection.

Pujols, who built much of his Hall-of-Fame resume as a St. Louis slugger from 2001-2011, did not play in Monday’s 5-1 win over the Cardinals, and Max Scherzer’s superb eight-inning start eliminated the need for any pinch-hitters.

When Pujols made his first appearance here as a visiting player with the Angels in 2019, he received lengthy standing ovations before each of his 12 plate appearances, with Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina standing in front of the batter’s circle each time for Pujols to bask in the applause.

More of the same is expected Tuesday night, though that is not manager Dave Roberts’ only motivation for starting Pujols. The Cardinals are starting left-hander J.A. Happ, and Pujols, 41, is batting .301 with a .954 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and 12 homers against lefties this season.

“No. 1, having him in the lineup gives us a great chance to win a ballgame,” Roberts said. “No. 2, it’s great for the game. I know Albert has really been looking forward to coming back here.

“He’s revered here and rightfully so. He’s done so much stuff for the community, for the Cardinals organization, it just speaks to what a great fan base they have here in St Louis, that he’s gone but not forgotten.”

Mookie Betts is not in the lineup, but Roberts said it is a scheduled day off for the right fielder. Steven Souza Jr. was recalled from triple-A and will start in right field, and Roberts said the right-handed-hitting Souza will get some starts in left field, with Chris Taylor replacing the struggling Cody Bellinger in center field.

Zach McKinstry was optioned to clear a roster spot for Souza Jr., and left-hander Garrett Cleavinger (right oblique strain) was moved to the 60-day injured list, ending his season.

Reliever Corey Knebel will serve as an “opener” Tuesday night, with right-hander Mitch White expected to pitch “bulk” innings. The Dodgers have not decided on a starter for Wednesday night, but right-hander Andre Jackson could figure prominently in the pitching plan.

Roberts said left-hander Julio Urias will start Thursday’s series finale on regular rest. Walker Buehler will start the opener of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on Friday night, and Max Scherzer is expected to pitch on Saturday night.

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Dodgers defeat the Cardinals, 5-1

Dodgers: Right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon now pitching for the Cardinals. J.Turner grounded to short. Seager grounded to first. Taylor struck out swinging.

Cardinals: Right-hander Joe Kelly now pitching for the Dodgers. O’Neill struck out looking. Carpenter lined to second. Sosa grounded to short.

Final score: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 1

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We go to the ninth, 5-1 Dodgers

Dodgers: T.Turner lined to center. Muncy grounded to first. Betts grounded to third.

Cardinals: Paul DeJong, batting for Whitley, struck out swinging. Edman grounded to second. Goldschmidt singled to left. Carlson grounded to second. Through eight innings, Scherzer has given six hits and an unearned run, walking none and striking out 13. He has made 103 pitches. Will he pitch the ninth?

Score after eight: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 1

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Max Scherzer pitching a gem, Dodgers lead 5-1 after seven

Dodgers: Right-hander Kodi Whitley now pitching for the Cardinals. Bellinger lined to second. Barnes struck out swinging. Scherzer lined to center.

Cardinals: Carpenter struck out swinging. Sosa singled to left-center. Bader lined to second. Knizner struck out swinging.

Score after seven: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 1

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Dodgers lead 5-1 after six innings

Dodgers: Left-hander Andrew Miller now pitching for the Cardinals. J.Turner struck out swinging. Seager flied to right. Taylor lined to center.

Cardinals: Lars Nootbaar, batting for Miller, struck out swinging. Edman singled to right. Goldschmidt singled to right-center, Edman to third. Carlson struck out swinging. Edman scored and Goldschmidt moved to second on a passed ball. The replay seemed to show he was out at home, but it wasn’t overturned. O’Neill struck out looking.

Score after six: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 1

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Dodgers lead 5-0 after five

Dodgers: T.Turner grounded to third. Muncy flied to left. Betts grounded to third.

Cardinals: Sosa flied to right. Bader struck out swinging. Knizner grounded to third.

Score after five: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 0

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It’s 5-0 Dodgers after four innings

Dodgers: Bellinger popped to third. Barnes grounded to second. Scherzer struck out swinging.

Cardinals: Goldschmidt singled to right. Carlson grounded to second, forcing Goldschmidt. O’Neill flied to right. Carpenter struck out swinging.

Score after four: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 0

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Dodgers have 5-0 lead after three innings

Dodgers: Muncy struck out swinging. Betts walked on seven pitches. J.Turner fouled to first. Betts took second on an errant pickoff throw. Seager singled to right, scoring Betts. Taylor grounded to the pitcher.

Cardinals: Andrew Knizner grounded to third. Miles Mikolas lined to left. Edman struck out swinging.

Score after three: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 0

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It’s 4-0 Dodgers after two

Dodgers: Austin Barnes grounded to second. Max Scherzer struck out swinging. T.Turner grounded to short.

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter lined to right. Edmundo Sosa struck out swinging. Harrison Bader lined to left.

Score after two: Dodgers 4, Cardinals 0

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Dodgers jump out to 4-0 lead

Dodgers: Right-hander Miles Mikolas pitching for the Cardinals. Trea Turner hit a ground-rule double to left-center. Max Muncy singled to right, T.Turner to third. Mookie Betts singled to left, T.Turner scoring, Muncy to third. Justin Turner grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, scoring Muncy (Turner does not get an RBI for that). Corey Seager walked on seven pitches. Chris Taylor homered to left. Cody Bellinger flied to left.

Cardinals: Right-hander Max Scherzer pitching for the Dodgers. Tommy Edman doubled to center. Paul Goldschmidt struck out swinging. Edman took third on a wild pitch. Dylan Carlson struck out looking. Tyler O’Neill struck out swinging.

Score after one: Dodgers 4, Cardinals 0

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Max Scherzer to start Monday, Mitch White to throw bulk of innings Tuesday, but rest of rotation unsettled

Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer hands the ball to manager Dave Roberts (30)
Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) hands the ball to manager Dave Roberts (30) as he leaves during the eighth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Padres Aug. 26 in San Diego.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS — Max Scherzer will make Monday’s Labor Day start against the St. Louis Cardinals, and Mitch White will throw the bulk of Tuesday night’s game after an opener, but the rest of the rotation for a four-game series in Busch Stadium is “to be determined,” manager Dave Roberts said Monday.

Right-hander Andre Jackson is with the team on the taxi squad and could figure into Wednesday night’s pitching plan. Julio Urías could start on regular rest Thursday night, but the Dodgers might give the left-hander an extra day before his next start.

Roberts said Tony Gonsolin, who threw 41 pitches over 2 1/3 innings for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday night, “will be activated soon,” so the right-hander could be available Thursday or Friday.

Walker Buehler, who threw only 53 pitches over three innings of Sunday’s 6-4 loss to San Francisco, could be available to start Friday night’s series opener against the San Diego Padres in Dodger Stadium.

Roberts said if Clayton Kershaw (left-elbow inflammation) came out of Tuesday night’s three-inning rehabilitation start for triple-A Oklahoma City OK, the left-hander will be plugged into the rotation for his next turn. That would be Sunday against the Padres.

Roberts was extremely encouraged by Kershaw’s bullpen session Sunday in San Francisco.

“His stuff was good as far as crispness, command, sharpness of the breaking ball, the life on the fastball,” Roberts said. “That pen was as good as I’ve seen in quite some time.”

Scherzer’s right hamstring tightened up during warmups before the first inning of his last start against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night. The right-hander still threw six shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out nine, in a 4-3 Dodgers victory.

“From what I understand, he feels good,” Roberts said. “He’s a very good communicator, and he’s not gonna put himself or the ball club in harm’s way. It’s good to know he’s on the mound and has a fresh bullpen behind him.”

Albert Pujols, who built much of his Hall of Fame resume during his stint with the Cardinals from 2001 to 2011 and is returning to Busch Stadium for only the second time as a visiting player, is not in Monday’s lineup, but Roberts said the first baseman would start on Tuesday and Thursday.

The Dodgers didn’t arrive at their St. Louis hotel until after 3 a.m., so Roberts canceled batting practice before the game. Pujols took some grounders at first base about an hour and a half before first pitch, with only a handful of fans in the stadium, and received a nice ovation as he returned to the dugout.

DODGERS LINEUP: 2B Trea Turner, 1B Max Muncy, RF Mookie Betts, 3B Justin Turner, SS Corey Seager, LF Chris Taylor, CF Cody Bellinger, C Austin Barnes, RHP Max Scherzer.

CARDINALS LINEUP: 2B Tommy Edman, 1B Paul Goldschmidt, RF Dylan Carlson, LF Tyler O’Neill, 3B Matt Carpenter, SS Edmundo Sosa, CF Harrison Bader, C Andrew Knizner, RHP Miles Mikolas.

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Dodgers’ biggest problem isn’t the Giants but the broken bat in their lineup

Cody Bellinger heads to first base.
The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger tosses his bat after drawing a walk against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
(John Hefti / Associated Press)

Just two years ago, the scenario would have been unimaginable, the Dodgers down by four runs in the ninth inning and Dave Roberts calling on Cody Bellinger to be replaced by a pinch hitter.

Bellinger’s replacement wasn’t Mookie Betts or Corey Seager or even a 41-year-old version of Albert Pujols.

Batting instead of Bellinger was Austin Barnes, the team’s light-hitting backup catcher.

The Dodgers lost a game they should have won, the most talented team in baseball dropping its series finale to a San Francisco Giants team that plays the best baseball. The defending World Series champions departed to St. Louis on Sunday trailing the Giants in the National League West.

With games remaining and the Dodgers only one game behind the Giants, however, the problem wasn’t nearly as alarming as the one they have in Bellinger.

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ICYMI: Dodgers still playing catch-up in the NL West after series loss to Giants

Highlights from the Dodgers’ 6-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

SAN FRANCISCO — The crowd was on its feet again Sunday in the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ 6-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Another batch of “Beat L.A.” chants vibrated through Oracle Park. Albert Pujols had just come off the Dodgers’ bench to belt a pinch-hit, two-run home run to reinvigorate the masses, producing a scene befitting for October, down to the sweater weather.

Max Muncy stood at first base. Mookie Betts populated the batter’s box. Giants closer Jake McGee toed the mound. The Dodgers had two outs to make up a two-run deficit to avoid losing the three-game series, dropping the 19-game season series, and sinking back into second place in the National League West.

The rally fell short because Betts struck out on a pitch inside, out of the strike zone, and Giants right fielder Mike Yastrzemski caught Justin Turner’s fly ball down the right-field line against the netting to give San Francisco sole possession of first place.

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