It was one of Dodgers‘the best stretches of the season. However, it showed a worrying trend that continued into Tuesday evening.
Yes, the Dodgers won all seven games they played last week.
But in six of those contests they had to come from behind.
Tuesday vs. St. Louis Cardinals, a similar scenario played out again. The Cardinals built a big, early lead. The Dodgers staged a prank late in the game, leaving them in ninth place.
This time, however, their latest slow start left them too far behind. AT defeat 7-6 at Bush Stadium, they finally encountered a hill too steep to climb.
Down 6–1 early in the fifth, the Dodgers scored two points in the fifth, another in the sixth, and another in the seventh to tie the game at 6–5.
Later, in the seventh, they had their bases loaded with no strikeouts, seemingly on the verge of taking the lead for the first time.
But Cardinals feeder Paki Naughton extinguished this threat. The top of the Dodgers order appeared empty in the eighth. And insurance from the Cardinals helped hold them in ninth place, snapping the Dodgers’ seven-game winning streak and leaving them 56-30 for the season.
“[We] set it up to add a few runs to tie the game or keep playing,” said manager Dave Roberts. “We just didn’t comply.”
Mitch White was the biggest contributor to Tuesday’s loss, having endured the worst start to the season as he continued to fill in for an injured Andrew Heaney in the Dodgers rotation (Heaney is due to start minor league rehab on Saturday).
After knocking out the first five batters, White threw an inside sinker at Albert Pujols with two outs in the second. The former Dodger and future Hall of Famer slapped him over the left field fence.
It was the 685th home run of Pujols’ career and came the day after the 22-year veteran announced he would be running in the following week’s home run derby at Dodger Stadium.
Pujols gave five to St. Louis native rapper Nellie is front row after crossing the plate and then called the curtain out of the crowd with the tip of his dugout helmet.
White’s exit, meanwhile, quickly went off the rails. The Cardinals (48-42) extended their lead with a scoring serve and an RBI single from Andrew Knizner.
Freddie Freeman’s RBI brace in the top half of the third half was answered by Nolan Gorman’s solo blast in the bottom half of the half. Then White, who didn’t give up more than three times in his first 12 games this year, threw in a couple more RBI singles in the fourth, seemingly putting the game out of reach at 6-1.
Five of the six runs he missed were with two strikeouts.
However, the Dodgers began to leave.
Trea Turner hit a two-run homer from a foul in left field in the fifth. Hanser Alberto doubled up and scored in the sixth.
In the seventh round, Turner, Freeman, and Will Smith came out with a catcher’s jam signal and two singles, respectively, to call one run and put a tied and a positive run in the winning position.
While no one was there, Justin Turner followed him to load the bases.
It was then that Roberts and Cardinals manager Oli Marmol arranged an in-game chess match.
Roberts sent left-hander Max Munsey to the plate as a hitter in place of right-hander Trace Thompson. In response, Marmol sent off right hand pitcher Junior Fernandez, who failed to call a strikeout in the pitch, in favor of Naughton, the left-hander the Cardinals demanded from the Angels this spring.
Naughton trailed Munsey 3-and-1 but then forced him to press a weak pop-up to center on a lead over the plate.
Alberto lifted an equally shallow ball to the left in the next bat.
Cody Bellinger completed the serve with an out.
Roberts said after the game that he didn’t give much thought to leaving Thompson at the plate, even if it could keep the seemingly struggling Fernandez down the hill.
“We couldn’t ask for a better situation,” Roberts said. “We just have to execute right here.”
Instead, the Dodgers’ best chance has come and gone.
Atop eighth, Cardinals all-star reliever Ryan Helsley exited the roster in order. At the end of the half, David Price gave up what turned out to be a costly insurance, giving the Cardinals a two-run lead that allowed them to take a single hit from Freeman, giving him his second straight four-hit game. top of the ninth.