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Dodgers stun Cardinals with rare ninth-inning rally, 2-1

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All the stars seemed aligned against the Dodgers on Monday.

They were playing at Busch Stadium, where they had gone 3-15 since it opened in 2006. They were up against Chris Carpenter, who was 6-0 lifetime against the Dodgers. And they trailed, 1-0, heading into the ninth inning, an obstacle they had overcome once in 63 previous games.

And they won, with an improbable ninth-inning rally after former Cardinal Aaron Miles tripled in the tying run and Rod Barajas drove him home with the wining score when his grounder bounced off the glove of ex-Dodger Rafael Furcal, who threw wide of the plate.

Rookie Javy Guerra came on to close it, and the Dodgers had escaped with a 2-1 victory no one saw coming.

St. Louis’ Tony La Russa gave the Dodgers a nice assist with come curious overmanaging. Carpenter took a 1-0 lead into the ninth, having held the Dodgers to five singles -- three by James Loney.

But after he hit Juan Rivera to open the bottom of the ninth, La Russa went to the bullpen, and Carpenter did not look happy. He’s a little less happy now.

La Russa -– who had also inserted the sore-thumbed Furcal at short to start the inning -– called on Arthur Rhodes, who quickly struck out struggling Andre Ethier.

But then La Russa went to closer Fernando Salas, who gave up the run-scoring triple to Miles. Reliever Jason Motte came on, and with the infield in, Barajas hit his hard chopper off Furcal’s glove. He recovered, picked up the ball and threw weakly and outside the plate. Almost like a guy with a sore thumb.

Rookie Nathan Eovaldi started Monday for the Dodgers, and made only one mistake, a solo home run to Lance Berkman in the second inning.

Otherwise, the 21-year-old Eovaldi continued his unexpected performance since being called up from double-A Chattanooga as something of an emergency replacement for the injured Rubby De La Rosa.

Eovaldi went five innings, holding the Cardinals to the one run and five hits. He wasn’t overpowering -– he struck out two -- but certainly was effective, which is what he’s been in each of this four starts.

Eovaldi became one of only four pitchers since 1946 under the age of 22 to start their careers with at least five innings per start, and having allowed two or less runs on five or less hits.

The other starters were San Franciso’s Matt Cain (6), Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (4) and Boston’s Dave Morehead (4).

Carpenter, however, looked poised to make that 1-0 lead stand up. At least until La Russa got a hold of the ninth.

Don Mattingly, almost desperate to get some offense, tried shuffling his lineup Monday, batting Matt Kemp third, Rivera fourth and Andre Ethier fifth. The three went hitless.

Four relievers, however, threw shut-out innings. Guerra picked up his 11thsave in 12 chances, and Matt Guerrier (4-3) pitched a perfect eighth to pick up the victory.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starter Nate Eovaldi delivers a pitch during Monday’s game. Credit: Jeff Roberson / Associated Press

 
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