Dodgers 9, Cardinals 8

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ST. LOUIS (AP)—Hee-Seop Choi is batting .400 over his last 12 games and he withstood a tough hit to keep the streak going.

Choi hit a go-ahead, three-run homer an inning after he was in a collision that forced St. Louis’ Scott Rolen from the game with a sprained left shoulder in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 9-8 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night.

“Not only did it knock the wind out of him, but it jarred him pretty good,” manager Jim Tracy said. “He continually said he was OK. That was a terrific play.”

Jeff Kent also homered and Cesar Izturis had two hits and two RBIs, helping the Dodgers end a six-game losing streak at Busch Stadium, counting the first round of last year’s postseason.

“The games we’ve played have been some incredible games,” Tracy said. “There’s a lot of cat and mouse and there’s a lot of terrific baseball, that’s all there is to it.”

Choi drove in four runs for the Dodgers, who squandered an early three-run lead but erased a four-run deficit with a six-run sixth against Matt Morris and reliever Kevin Jarvis (0-1). He is 14-for-35 with five homers and 13 RBIs during his streak.

Rolen, who hit a two-run shot in the fourth, left in the fifth after a violent collision with Choi at first base and was to have precautionary X-rays. Rolen crashed into Choi after grounding out to pitcher Scott Erickson, whose throw pulled the first baseman into Rolen’s path.

“I heard it pop when I hit him,” Rolen said. “The throw took him to the middle of the bag and it was late so I just kind of covered up and I got my shoulder into him.

“The doctor said you could see on the replay that it kind of jammed it.”

Rolen, who separated his left shoulder in the 2002 playoffs, left the field holding his upper left arm, and was replaced at third base by Abraham Nunez. For now, the team said he was day-to-day.

The team said this injury is unrelated to the one in 2002.

“Different joint, different type of collision,” Weinberg said. “He was in a lot of pain and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

Choi had a much different result in a collision with then-teammate Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs in June 2003. The first baseman and pitcher hit while chasing a wind-blown popup at Wrigley Field against the New York Yankees. Choi’s head hit the dirt of the third base line and he remained on the field motionless for several minutes before leaving the field in an ambulance. He missed three weeks because of the concussion.

Reggie Sanders homered twice and had four RBIs for the Cardinals, who have homered five times in the first two games of the four-game series. Albert Pujols had an RBI single and a sacrifice fly that cut the gap to 9-8 in the sixth, giving him six RBIs in the series. But he grounded into an inning-ending double play against Giovanni Carrara with runners on first and second in the eighth.

Rolen and Sanders hit consecutive homers in the fourth to tie it at 3. Sanders capped a four-run fifth with a three-run shot, his ninth, to put the Cardinals ahead 7-3.

Wilson Alvarez (1-0) got one out in the fifth to earn the win. Yhency Brazoban got three outs for his 10th save in 11 chances.

Kent hit his eighth homer leading off the sixth against Morris. Izturis had a two-run single with two outs off Jarvis, and Choi hit his sixth homer as the Dodgers batted around. With left-hander Randy Flores warming up, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa elected to let the right-handed Jarvis face switch-hitting Izturis and left-handed batters Choi and J.D. Drew in succession, and only Drew was retired.


David Eckstein was 3-for-4 with a walk and is 18-for-50 (.360) during an 11-game hitting streak. … Izturis has 16 multihit games, tied with Ichiro Suzuki for second-best in the major leagues and one behind Johnny Damon of the Red Sox. … Rolen is 9-for-18 against Erickson with three RBIs. … Entering the game, Choi had been a .122 career hitter against the Cardinals with one homer and three RBIs.

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