Los Angeles -- The St. Louis Cardinals continue to soar. The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to founder. So what's new? And if there is any remaining mystery why the Cardinals sit on top of the National League and the Dodgers are an expensive, fast-sinking ship, it was all cleared up Friday as the Cardinals used superior pitching and a dominating offense to pummel the Dodgers 7-0 to open a three-game series at Chavez Ravine. These are two teams headed in opposite directions, and unless the Dodgers get their act straight they might soon be looking for a new manager -- in addition to wondering where the top of the National League ran and hid. The Cardinals chipped away at Dodgers starter Chris Capuano, eventually chasing him in the sixth inning after scoring six runs on six hits -- including a pair of home runs. As bad as Capuano was, St. Louis starter Lance Lynn was good. Lynn had his string of five straight quality starts snapped in his last outing against Milwaukee, but he got right back on track against the Dodgers giving up just two hits over six scoreless innings while striking out nine to improve to 7-1 on the year. David Freese got the scoring started in the second with a double to deep left to plate Jon Jay. St. Louis added two more in the third when Allen Craig doubled in Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran to make it 3-0. Craig's solo home run in the fifth made the score 4-0, and by the time Freese blasted a two-run home run to left, the rout was on and the Cardinals led, 6-0. Capuano's night was over, the Cardinals were flexing their muscles and the Dodgers continued to search for answers. None of which seem to be imminently forthcoming. It was that kind of night for the surging Cardinals. And it's been that kind of season for the underachieving Dodgers, who spent most of this week fending off questions about manager Don Mattingly's job security, only to back him with yet another dismal effort. NOTES: Cardinals' pitcher Jaime Garcia underwent surgery on left shoulder on Friday, performed by team physician George Paletta, and the Cardinals are optimistic Garcia will be recovered in time for the beginning of the 2014 season. Garcia pitched nine games for the Cardinals this year and went 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA. ... Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter completed a successful bullpen session Thursday in St. Louis and reported no issues by Friday. The plan now is for Carpenter to throw live batting practice early next week. ... After getting benched Wednesday against Milwaukee -- followed by Mattingly expressing concern about some players respecting the game more -- Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier expressed hope of talking to his manager to clear the air about his commitment. "If that's the way he feels, if that's an area I need help in or need adjusting and they feel that way I'm open eared to it and to address it and make it better," Ethier said. ... Meanwhile, Mattingly received the dreaded vote of confidence from team president Stan Kasten, who insisted Mattingly's job is safe after talk swirled earlier this week it was in danger. "I like the team we've put together I like the staff that we have I do expect us to succeed," Kasten said. "I do expect this to turnaround and because of that I expect Donnie to be here for a long time."
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