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Dodgers launch rare comeback in ninth to beat St. Louis, 2-1

Former Cardinal Aaron Miles triples in a run, and then scores on a grounder by Rod Barajas as former Dodger Rafael Furcal's throw to home falls short. Dodgers rookie Nathan Eovaldi does well.

August 22, 2011|By Jim Peltz

Reporting from St. Louis — For eight innings, the St. Louis Cardinals' veteran pitcher Chris Carpenter extended his career-long mastery over the Dodgers while clinging to a one-run lead Monday night at Busch Stadium.

But then Carpenter hit the Dodgers' Juan Rivera with a pitch to start the ninth inning, and by the time it ended, the Dodgers had scored twice to win, 2-1, after key plays involving a former Cardinal now with the Dodgers and a current Cardinal who just left the Dodgers.

After Rivera was replaced by pinch-runner Justin Sellers, Carpenter was pulled for reliever Arthur Rhodes, who struck out Andre Ethier.

St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa then brought in Fernando Salas to face former Cardinal Aaron Miles, and Miles tripled to score Sellers and tie the score.

La Russa then brought in another reliever, Jason Motte, to pitch to Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas, who hit a grounder to the right of shortstop Rafael Furcal, who was traded to the Cardinals from the Dodgers last month. Furcal grabbed it and threw home, but Miles scored the go-ahead run.

Dodgers reliever Javy Guerra, who had his first blown save against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday, bounced back by tossing a scoreless ninth inning for his 11th save.

And the Dodgers were in position to win because 21-year-old Nathan Eovaldi, making only his fourth big league start, held the Cardinals to one run through his five innings of work. Eovaldi also picked off St. Louis' Jon Jay at first base in the fourth inning.

Eovaldi was followed by Josh Lindblom, Scott Elbert and Matt Guerrier, who each threw a scoreless inning until the Dodgers scored.

It was only the second time this season that the Dodgers won after trailing at the end of eight innings. The other was a 6-4 win in 10 innings over the White Sox in Chicago on May 20.

"Our kid [Eovaldi] pitched good, our bullpen pitched really good and we were able to just hang around long enough to get a couple of big hits," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said.

Miles got his key hit on a 3-2 changeup from Salas, who also had thrown a changeup when the count was 2-2.

"I'm thinking I'll hit a fastball the other way [and] stay on that changeup" if it came instead, Miles said, "and sure enough he left the changeup up and I was able to stay through it."

Then, on Barajas' grounder, Furcal "almost made a great play, but I was sliding in hard" and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina "left me a little bit of the plate," Miles said.

Salas (5-5) took the loss and Guerrier (4-3) earned the win.

The game began with a noticeably different batting order from Mattingly. Ethier and Matt Kemp, who have batted third and fourth, respectively, almost all season, were split apart, with Kemp batting third and Ethier fifth.

"Just trying to get jump-started a little bit," Mattingly said.

It didn't matter for most of the game thanks to Carpenter, who is 6-0 lifetime against the Dodgers with a 1.52 earned-run average.

St. Louis' one run came on a home run by Lance Berkman in the second inning.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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