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Dodgers Drop Cardinals 1-0 In A Classic

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Last night the Dodgers scored twelve runs and beat the Saint Louis Cardinals. Tonight, the Dodgers needed only one run for a victory that moved them into first place in the NL West over the San Diego Padres.

“It was a classic,” said manager Joe Torre of the shutout that featured a pitching duel and a Manny Ramirez game-winning double in the bottom of the eighth. “If they had beaten us, I’d still have to say that was a great game just because of the way things made out.”

In front of 48,046 fans who chose to skip the NBA Finals Game 3 in order to celebrate Jonathan Broxton Bobblehead Night at Chavez-Ravine, Dodger pitching shutout a mighty Cardinals lineup, limiting the Cards to six hits. Starter Hiroki Kuroda lasted seven lights-out innings, giving up just four hits and one walk and striking out six.

“That’s as good as you want to see him right there,” said Torre. “It looked like he was very aggressive. It looked like he was pretty much doing what he wanted to.”

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The game’s lone run came in the bottom of the eighth after Cardinal reliever Trever Miller (0-1) allowed singles to Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier. Kyle McClellan came in to face Manny Ramirez and a near-full stadium chanting Manny, Manny.

The struggling slugger, Ramirez, hit a long double over the outstretched Ryan Ludwick in right field to bring home Furcal. Upon exiting the field for pinch-runner Reed Johnson, Manny was greeting to his first standing ovation in a while.

For the Cardinals, ace Chris Carpenter was ace Chris Carpenter. He matched Kuorda's seven innings and allowed just six hits and one walk while striking out five.

“Great pitching on both sides,” said Torre. “Carpenter did an amazing job of getting out of jams. He just doesn’t give in.”

The Dodger bullpen preserved Kuroda’s best start in a while. Pitching a one-hit eighth inning Hong-Chih Kuo was the game’s winner (2-1.) Jonathan Broxton closed out the ninth for a hard-fought 15th save against the heart of the Cardinals order that included a long strikeout of the heavily-booed superstar Albert Pujols.

“He kept fouling off good pitches, I just had to bury one,” said Broxton of the slider down in the dirt that Pujols chased with a check swing.

Said Torre of the duel: “That was another classic at-bat, eleven pitches, and Brox won out.”

Dodger infielders not only played an error-less game but were especially sharp. Their strong night was best seen in the seventh where the inning-ending doubleplay got Kuroda out of his only jam of the night.

The Dodgers had a chance to score in the seventh inning when Russell Martin singled to right fielder Ryan Ludwick and Blake DeWitt broke from second base for home. Ludwick’s throw made for a play at the plate that saw DeWitt tagged out as he tried to knock over catcher Yadier Molina.

“We made them make a play and Ludwick made a hell of a throw,” said Torre.

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The Dodgers end the day in sole possession of first place by a half-game.

“It’s June,” said Broxton, reminding the media. “We want to be there at the end of the year.”

And Whatnot

* The Dodgers are now 997-994 against the Cardinals

* Cardinals power-duo Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday are 1-14 in the last two games.

Follow Caleb Bacon on Twitter @thecalebbacon.