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Dodgers Throw Knuckles, Cards Hit Bombs

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The Dodgers dropped their fourth straight game at home 3-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals. At 70-49 they have gone 23-23 at home since going 13-0 to begin the season.

Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger got his first start for the Dodgers and his first overall start since 2006. He went seven innings giving up three runs on five hits while hitting one batter.

To open up the fourth inning Haeger gave up a solo homer slugger Albert Pujols.

After getting Matt Holliday to pop up in the seventh inning, Haeger hit Ryan Ludwick with a 72 mph knuckleball then gave up a homer to Rick Ankiel that he took to right field.

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“Tonight a couple of pitches got away from me,” Haeger said of the two home runs he gave up. “But all in all it was a decent outing.”

Manager Joe Torre thought the effort was a little better than decent.

“He pitched a hell of a game, no question about it,” Torre beamed. “Charlie has certainly earned another start.”

As good as Haeger pitched, the offense had no answers for Chris Carpenter. In fact even when they had Carpenter cornered in the first inning they couldn’t take him out of the game.

Rafael Furcal grounded a single up the middle and advanced to third on Andre Ethier’s double after Orlando Hudson popped out right next to home plate. After Manny Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases, Casey Blake hit a sacrifice fly to rightfielder Ryan Ludwick scoring Furcal. However the Dodgers decided to test Ludwick’s arm (whose arm has been well tested by the league) and sent the not-quite-so-speedy Ethier to third. Ludwick made a perfect throw to get Ethier out sliding. Instead of blowing the game open the Dodgers merely took a 1-0 lead.

“We had a chance to really do some damage there in the first, and we just came out of it with one run,” Blake said. “We let him off the hook right there. He gets stronger as the game goes on so we were in for a battle.”

After Carpenter had retired 10 consecutive batters, the Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning after Matt Kemp led off the inning with a double. James Loney drove Kemp home with a single. After Loney stole second, Carpenter then retired the side getting Brad Ausmus and Furcal to pop up and Haeger to strike out looking

On July 27, St. Louis Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter went seven innings giving up only one run on nine hits and two walks. In this game he gave up two runs in eight innings on five hits and an intentional walk. As Dodgers manager Joe Torre put it the Cardinals pitchers bend but do not break.