Dodgers-Cardinals Preview

The Associated Press

With talented rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound, the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be in good position to end another successful road trip on a positive note.

The left-hander tries for a fourth straight winning start when the Dodgers look to win their seventh consecutive road series Thursday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.

One night after Los Angeles' franchise-record 15-game road winning streak ended with a 5-1 loss at St. Louis (66-47), the Dodgers pounded out a season-high 18 hits in a 13-4 rout Wednesday.

A winner in 33 of 41 overall, Los Angeles (63-50) has won 21 of 24 away from Chavez Ravine and is 6-1 on an eight-game trip to open August.

"We don't even look into that stuff, man,'' said Dodgers veteran Jerry Hairston Jr., who had two RBIs on Wednesday. "I know it's big and we had a lot of things go our way and we know that's not going to be the norm.

"We're a confident group, we feel we can get the job done.''

Though Ryu (10-3, 3.15 ERA) has a 5.24 ERA in his last four road starts, he's 3-0 thanks to an astonishing 11.69 run-support average during that stretch.

He yielded 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings but just two runs in Friday's 6-2 win over the Chicago Cubs to improve to 4-0 in his last seven starts overall. He has a 3.56 ERA during that span, but Los Angeles is 7-0 in those contests.

Ryu is the first Dodgers rookie to win 10 games since Kazuhisa Ishii in 2002.

"He dials it up when he needs to," catcher A.J. Ellis told the team's official website. "Sometimes the entire game. ... Other times, he saves it for certain situations. He's a big-game pitcher and he knows how to win."

This will be his first appearance versus St. Louis, which was originally scheduled to start Jake Westbrook before he was pressed into service Wednesday when Shelby Miller took a liner off the elbow on the second pitch of the game. Westbrook was tagged for nine runs and 13 hits in 4 2-3 innings.

"Three days' rest is sufficient for most people, you want to come in there and do what you can,'' he said. "The bottom line is I didn't do that.''

The wild-card leading Cardinals recalled Carlos Martinez, who was set to start for Triple-A Memphis on Thursday, for the finale. One of the club's top prospects, the 21-year-old right-hander posted a 5.56 ERA without a decision in 10 relief appearances this season.

Martinez, who was 4-2 with a 1.76 ERA in 10 starts for the Redbirds, pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Dodgers on May 25.

He'll face a tough task against a Los Angeles team that has outscored its opponents 92-51 while going 16-3 since the All-Star break. Andre Ethier and ex-Cardinal Skip Schumaker each had three hits with four RBIs Wednesday and Carl Crawford added four hits.

Crawford is 7 for 12 in the series and 12 for 26 in six career games at Busch Stadium.

With three hits Wednesday, St. Louis' Carlos Beltran is 13 for 27 in his last seven contests.

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