LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lance Lynn was battling blisters and callouses throughout his two innings on the mound. As a result, his only effective pitch was the fastball. The Los Angeles Dodgers knew it was coming, and they kept whacking it.
Lynn gave up four RBI doubles during a 45-pitch second inning, three of them over his outfielders’ heads, and the Dodgers rode their six-run rally to a 9-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
“If I threw anything else but the fastball, it hurt. It was burning,” Lynn said. “But I’m a fastball pitcher, anyway, and they were ready for it. I tried to throw some other pitches, but I just didn’t have any feel with it. It was either spinning or I was yanking it, trying to make it break. And that’s when you get yourself in trouble.”
Lynn (8-6) was charged with seven runs, nine hits and two wild pitches. The right-hander is 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA in six starts since pitching his first professional shutout May 27 and beating the Mets 6-0 with a career-high 126 pitches.
“Honestly, I have blister problems every time I start, but I usually don’t have them rip off like they did today,” Lynn said. “I’m missing a lot of the top part of my (middle) finger – the whole tip, pretty much. I think it dried out, coming from Colorado, and it just ripped off. The wetter it got today, the more it kept going back. But that’s a part of pitching. You try to get through those things, and I wasn’t able to do that.”
Los Angeles got an unearned run in the first after back-to-back infield hits by Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, who returned to the lineup after missing four games with a sore right shoulder. Puig went to third on a fielder’s choice grounder by Adrian Gonzalez and continued home when shortstop Daniel Descalso dropped the ball on the exchange from his glove to his right hand.
The Dodgers, who didn’t get an extra-base hit in either of the first two games in this series, broke the game open with RBI doubles by Justin Turner, A.J. Ellis, Dee Gordon and Andre Ethier. Gonzalez and Matt Kemp added two-out RBI singles.
The defending NL West champs sent 11 batters to the plate during their most productive inning of the season – including Miguel Rojas, who came in as a pinch runner after Turner strained his left hamstring running out his double.
“I think everyone could see that Lynn was just getting the fastball across,” Ethier said. “And when a guy can only do that and isn’t having any luck with anything else, I think it’s a sign for a hitter to look for a straight heater, dead-red, and wait for that pitch over the plate.”
During the rally, one of Lynn’s pitches missed Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke’s head by inches after he squared to bunt. Gordon tried to score from second on a wild pitch to Ramirez, as Yadier Molina jogged back to the screen to retrieve it. But the six-time Gold Glove winner got the ball to Lynn in time for the tag on Gordon.
“He’s always trying to take the extra base, so you’re always aware,” Lynn said. “I didn’t think that he would do it, but you’ve always got your eye on him just in case. I don’t even know if I would have gotten three outs that inning if it weren’t for that one.”
Matt Carpenter’s third-inning homer accounted for St. Louis’ run. The defending NL champions tried to get back in the game in the fifth, but Greinke struck out Carpenter with runners at second and third.
Greinke (10-4) allowed four hits over seven innings, struck out 10 and did not walk a batter as the Dodgers won for the 11th time in 15 games. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner became the first Dodgers pitcher to reach double digits in wins before the All-Star break since 2007, when Brad Penny started 10-1 and finished 16-4.
NOTES: Cardinals manager Mike Matheny’s starting lineup had four left-handed batters against Greinke – Carpenter, Descalso, Matt Adams and Jon Jay. Each of them had a hit against him, while the righties were 0 for 16. … Lynn got a victory in relief against the Dodgers in the opening game of last year’s NL championship series and won Game 4 in a starting role. … Rojas replaced Ramirez at SS in the third inning and Juan Uribe took over at 3B for Turner. Uribe drove in the Dodgers’ final two runs with a bases-loaded single in the eighth against Eric Fornataro.