LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even though the Los Angeles Dodgers lead the National League in home runs, they are starting to show signs of winning when the ball doesn’t leave the park.
After getting a 1-0 win Saturday, the Dodgers relied on small ball again in their 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
“It felt like we manufactured all our runs today. We were able to move them over and drive them in,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “It was nice. You can’t always win games by hitting home runs.”
Noah Syndergaard got his first win in a Dodgers uniform while the lineup got some timely hits and took advantage of mistakes by St. Louis pitchers, including eight walks.
On a day when the Dodgers were 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position, David Peralta epitomized what type of game it was. He drove in two runs, but both came on ground outs.
Chris Taylor’s double in the fourth inning was the only Dodgers’ run to come in via a hit. Three came in via ground outs, one on a sacrifice fly and the go-ahead run crossed the plate after a wild pitch.
“It was a clinic in team offense. We scored four runs on an out which is pretty impressive,” manager Dave Roberts said.
The Dodgers have gone deep in 22 of their 28 games this season. Sunday though marked the first time they have not homered in consecutive games.
After getting off to a slow start, the Dodgers have won seven of their last 10 and posted their first three-game series sweep of the season.
“We would have liked to put this together a lot quicker than we did. We were kind of just treading water the first few weeks. It’s nice to put it all together at the end of April and going into May,” Freeman said.
Syndergaard (1-3), who signed a one-year contract during the offseason, allowed three runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“It was nice to get the first win out of the way,” Syndergaard said. “I was doing a good job of keeping them off balance.”
St. Louis was swept in a series for the second time this season and went 2-8 on its season-long 11-day, 10-game road trip. At 10-19, the Cardinals are 10 games behind Pittsburgh in the NL Central. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the first time since 1907 St. Louis has been at least 10 games behind the division leader at the end of April.
“It’s just being able to get everything to click at the same time. There’s days when we hit the ball OK and give up too many runs or defensive mistakes late in the game. Today the bullpen wasn’t that sharp,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said.
The game was tied at 3 in the fifth inning when the Dodgers plated the go-ahead runs. Will Smith led off with a double before Zack Thompson (1-2) walked Max Muncy and Jason Heyward to load the bases. After James Outman struck out, Drew VerHagen came on and threw a wild pitch on a sweeper with a 2-2 count to score Smith.
Muncy made it 5-3 when he came across on Peralta’s grounder. Peralta also had an RBI grounder in the fourth inning.
Evan Phillips worked a scoreless ninth for his third save.
The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the second on Dylan Carlson’s sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Brandon Donovan, but were unable to make it stand.
Thompson has allowed two earned runs in each of his last three appearances after beginning the season without giving up a run in his first eight appearances.
Before the game, the Cardinals announced the death of Mike Shannon, who spent 50 years in the broadcast booth and nine years on the field for his hometown team. Shannon played for the 1964 and 1967 World Series champion teams.
Cardinals: Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (groin) went 5 2/3 innings for Triple A Memphis in his third rehab start on Sunday at Durham. The right-hander struck out nine and allowed four runs on seven hits.
Cardinals: After an off day, St. Louis returns home to begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. LHP Steven Matz (0-3, 6.23 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday against LHP Patrick Sandoval (2-1, 3.16).
Dodgers: RHP Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his second start of the season on Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. He’ll match up with RHP Taijuan Walker (2-1, 4.97).
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