ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chase Utley was searching for his batting stroke in April. He’s found it in May
Utley, Logan Forsythe and Chris Taylor combined to reach base 12 times and totaled six runs, helping the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers rally past the St. Louis Cardinals 9-4 on Tuesday night to move atop the NL West.
The Dodgers went ahead of the Colorado Rockies, who lost 10-4 to the Seattle Mariners.
Utley finished a homer shy of the cycle and was hit by a pitch as the Dodgers won their season-high sixth straight game. Forsythe reached five times, including three walks, and Taylor reached three times.
“Hitting the ball where they’re not playing to be honest, squaring some balls up, putting some good at-bats together,” Utley said. “Having a little success can breed confidence and I’ve always had the opinion that a confident hitter is a good hitter.”
Adrian Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly and Utley’s RBI double started the Dodgers comeback in the third. Enrique Hernandez tied it at 3 with a single, and Paul DeJong’s throwing error on the same play scored Utley to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.
The Dodgers scored three more times behind one hit in the fifth as relievers Tyler Lyons and John Brebbia each walked in a run.
“I think the at-bat quality and there’s a thing about winning 90 feet when we need to,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “And guys were able to get on base and win 90 feet when we had too.”
Utley has hit .333 (22 for 66) in May and he has three homers in his last six games after hitting just .122 in April.
“It wasn’t ideal,” Utley said of his slow start. “Not something you really anticipate, but it is what it is and I’ve been through some funks through the course of my career before. You try to stay positive. You try to stick with what you know and what helped make you successful and hopefully it turns around.”
Kenta Maeda spotted the Cardinals three first-inning runs for the second straight start, but once again held them scoreless after that to give the Dodgers a chance to come back.
Brandon Morrow (1-0) led a parade of six Dodgers relievers. The Dodgers bullpen gave up one run in five innings, the third consecutive game Los Angeles relievers had to get more than nine outs.
The Cardinals, who’ve lost 10 out of their last 13 games, capitalized on a fortunate call and a couple of Dodgers errors to take a 3-0 lead in the first.
Dexter Fowler appeared to be thrown out trying to steal second following a strikeout, but umpire Mark Wegner called a close 3-2 pitch to Tommy Pham ball four. Matt Carpenter followed with a single, Taylor’s throwing error scored Fowler, and Pham and Carpenter took an extra base on Maeda’s throwing error on the same play. Yadier Molina drove them both home with a single.
“When we score three in the first we anticipate that’s a game we’re going to add on to and win,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We started out real well and then we couldn’t get anything positive going.”
Molina had three RBIs, and his homer off Chris Hatcher in the eighth broke the Dodger bullpen’s scoreless innings streak at 24 2/3 innings.
Michael Wacha (2-3) needed 77 pitches to get through three innings, the shortest outing for a Cardinals starter this season. Three of the four runs he allowed were earned.
Wacha has blown 3-0 leads in consecutive starts against Los Angeles.
MAEDA LOSES GRIP
Maeda made throwing errors in the first and second innings. It is the first time Maeda has had two errors in a game and his first error since June 30, 2016.
Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner (hamstring) will go on a rehab assignment, but a beginning date has not been determined.
Cardinals: 2B Kolten Wong (left elbow strain) had an MRI on Monday that revealed no structural damage. OF Stephen Piscotty (personal) is expected back Wednesday.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-5, 4.28 ERA) starts in place of LHP Alex Wood (left shoulder inflammation). Ryu is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in three career appearances against St. Louis.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (3-4, 3.32 ERA) has received zero run support in his last two starts. He is 2-2 with a 3.55 ERA in seven career games against Los Angeles.
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