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Dodgers pummel fast-fading Cardinals 13-2
ST. LOUIS -- Up eight runs after three innings, Clayton Kershaw went right after the hitters.
The 23-year-old lefty won his National League-leading 16th game and Rod Barajas homered twice in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 13-2 victory over the fading St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
"You definitely don't pitch around anybody. You just attack," Kershaw said. "You definitely don't ever want to nibble with that kind of lead."
Kyle Lohse (11-8) was rocked for a season-worst eight runs over three innings, an impossible deficit against Kershaw, who struck out eight over six scoreless innings. The Cardinals have lost six of eight and dropped a season-high 10 games behind the NL Central-leading Brewers with 33 games to go.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa wasn't interested in taking the long view.
"Today was terrible," La Russa said. "Find Kyle and ask him because it was mystifying. They had a lot of good looks."
Matt Kemp hit a three-run homer in the first and Barajas had a solo homer in the third and three-run shot in the fifth for his 11th multihomer game, also giving him four in five games. The Dodgers hit a season-high four homers while winning consecutive games in St. Louis for the first time since July 9 and 10, 2003, and will go for a three-game sweep today behind Hiroki Kuroda.
Kershaw (16-5) is 8-1 with a 1.21 ERA in his last nine starts and hiked his NL-leading strikeout total to 207. The Cardinals threatened twice, but Kershaw struck out Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman with two on to end the first and struck out the side in the fourth to negate a double, infield hit and walk.
"You pick the right day to pitch sometimes," Kershaw said. "The run support, that's awesome. You don't want to take those nights for granted."
Kemp also doubled and scored in the second and needs one homer to become the second player in franchise history with 30 homers and 30 steals. Barajas is batting .381 (16 for 42) in August with five homers, three doubles and 16 RBIs in 13 games.
Yadier Molina and Rafael Furcal grounded into double plays to give the Cardinals 139 this year, by far the most in the majors. Second baseman Skip Schumaker pitched the ninth and surrendered a solo homer to Aaron Miles, who had been the last Cardinals position player to pitch. He did twice last season.
"I kind of felt like that was my job over there for a while," Miles joked. "I've played catch with Shoe probably about a thousand times so I know exactly what it looks like coming out of his hand.
"He's throwing 92 [mph]. He provided all the power."
Schumaker pitched in relief at UC-Santa Barbara and probably has the best outfield arm on the Cardinals.
"To give up a homer to Miles, of all guys, is disappointing," Schumaker said.
Lohse had been 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA against NL West opponents before coming up empty, with half of the Dodgers' eight hits for extra bases. The right-hander had won his previous three decisions.
"One of those nights they just hit everything I threw," Lohse said. "A lot balls that came back over the plate. I wasn't hitting my spots well."
La Russa passed on a chance to cut into Kershaw's cushion when he allowed reliever Mitchell Boggs to bat with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth, electing to save his bullpen. Boggs struck out on three pitches.
"You just do the math in the innings that we've got to play," La Russa said.
* Kuroda (9-14, 2.88) has won his last two decisions heading into today's matchup against Jaime Garcia (10-6, 3.45), who's struggled this month with a 5.48 ERA.
* Cardinals pitcher Jason Motte has made 27 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run.
* Furcal, the St. Louis shortstop, made an outstanding play in the hole, making a strong throw that just beat Juan Rivera.
* Kershaw reached 200 strikeouts by the seventh earliest date in franchise history. Sandy Koufax has the five fastest, three of them in July.