ST. LOUIS (AP) - Tony La Russa needed Kyle Lohse to be sharp. Instead, the St. Louis Cardinals starter was done after only three innings.
``He just laid the ball down the middle several times,' the manager griped after a 13-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. ``They got a lot of good looks.'
Clayton Kershaw won his National League-leading 16th game and Rod Barajas homered twice against the fast-fading Cardinals.
Lohse (11-8) was rocked for a season-worst eight runs in three innings, an impossible deficit against the 23-year-old Kershaw, who struck out eight in six scoreless innings. The Cardinals have lost six of eight and dropped a season-high 10 games behind NL Central-leading Milwaukee.
``I don't know how to explain it,' Lohse said. ``I just didn't make too many good pitches.'
Matt Kemp hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Barajas had a solo homer in the third and a three-run shot in the fifth for his 11th multihomer game, 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 9-10, 2003, and will go for a three-game sweep on Wednesday behind Hiroki Kuroda.
``We're just trying to stay positive,' said Allen Craig, who had two hits. ``It wasn't fun for anybody.'
Lohse said he felt good warming up, then nothing went his way. Kemp hammered a hanging slider to center on a full count, an estimated 438 feet.
``I'm not trying to hang sliders. I'm not trying to throw balls down the middle,' Lohse said. ``It happens.'
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.
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 grounded into double plays to give the Cardinals 139 on the 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, twice last season.
``I wasn't trying to blow anyone away, I wasn't trying to get anyone hurt,' Schumaker said. ``When you're getting your rear end kicked in it's not a good feeling.'
Schumaker was timed at 92 mph on the stadium radar and had two strikeouts, while Miles has none in five career innings. Schumaker pitched in relief at UC-Santa Barbara.
``I've played catch with Shoe probably about a thousand times, so I know exactly what it looks like coming out of his hand,' Miles said. ``He's 92 up there, he provided all the power.
``I just didn't want him to strike me out because then he'd have that over me.'
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.
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. Boggs struck out on three pitches.
Notes: Kuroda (9-14, 2.88) has won his last two decisions heading into Wednesday's matchup against Jaime Garcia (10-6, 3.45), who's struggled this month with a 5.48 ERA. ... Cardinals RHP Jason Motte has made 27 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run. ... Kershaw reached 200 strikeouts the seventh earliest date in franchise history. Sandy Koufax has the five fastest, three in July.
The Associated Press News Service
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