ST. LOUIS (AP) -- For the third straight game, the low-scoring Los Angeles Dodgers got runs in bunches instead of settling for just a few.
Shawn Green had four hits and scored four times as the Dodgers beat Matt Morris and the St. Louis Cardinals 9-4 Thursday night.Jolbert Cabrera had two hits and three RBI and Adrian Beltre drove in two runs for the Dodgers, who swept the two-game series. Los Angeles won consecutive games for the first time since June 20-21, going 4-13 since.The Dodgers used a five-run inning to set up both victories, this time jumping on Morris in the first."We swung the bats better in the last two days than we have swung them in the last three weeks combined," manager Jim Tracy said. "It's not even close."Scott Rolen homered, doubled twice and had three RBI for the Cardinals. St. Louis has lost four in a row for the first time since June 13-16. The NL Central champions have dropped eight of 11 overall to fall to one game above .500 for the first time since June 1.Not only that, manager Tony La Russa thought his team looked sloppy. The Cardinals made only one error, but they were dragged down by mental mistakes."That's one of the poorest games we've played all year," La Russa said. "We did so many things wrong. We're capable of playing so much better."The Dodgers, who entered with an NL-low .241 batting average, scored their most runs since May 9, when they beat Montreal 9-5. They've scored 20 runs in the last three games, but before that had totaled 20 runs in 11 games, and this was only the fifth game all season in which they scored seven or more runs."It felt good to get some hits," Green said. "Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come."Morris' midseason troubles continued as he allowed six runs, five earned, on 10 hits in five innings.Morris (8-6) has struggled with his mechanics and reduced velocity brought on by a sore shoulder, giving up 38 earned runs in his last 41 innings covering eight starts. His ERA climbed to 4.19 -- he was at 2.26 after consecutive shutouts in mid-May."There's nothing sharp about any pitch I have right now," Morris said. "If I'm not hitting my spots, it gets punished."Dodgers batters noticed Morris didn't have his usual stuff."His control was good, but his velocity was a little bit down," Beltre said. "Besides that, we got pretty good at-bats."Odalis Perez (6-7) gave up four runs on eight hits in five innings. He has won consecutive starts after losing five straight decisions.Paul Quantrill got four outs for his first save.Six of the first seven batters reached safely in the first against Morris, with Paul Lo Duca driving in the first run with a single and Cabrera and Beltre hitting consecutive two-run singles.The Cardinals answered with three runs in the bottom of the first on consecutive doubles by Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols plus a two-run homer by Rolen, his 18th.Chad Hermansen's RBI single drove in Green in the second to put the Dodgers ahead 6-3. Rolen had an RBI double in the fifth but couldn't handle Cabrera's two-out bouncer for an infield RBI single in the seventh.
Pujols and Tino Martinez stole their first bases of the season in the first inning. ... Each starter threw 29 pitches in the first and 93 pitches overall during their five-inning stints. Morris threw 56 strikes, Perez 55. ... RHP Guillermo Mota allowed four hits in two innings of scoreless relief and hasn't allowed a run in 16 innings, tying a season best for the Dodgers. ... Bo Hart
was 3-for-5 for the Cardinals. ... Cardinals LHP Jeff Fassero gave up two runs in the ninth and has allowed 17 earned runs in his last
13 1/3 innings. He has been scored on in 10 of his last 12 appearances, hiking his ERA to 7.49.