The Dodgers ran into a tough pitcher and a tough opponent in a tough stretch of the schedule Monday night.
They opened a week on the road by wasting another quality start from Randy Wolf while hitting into four double-plays in a 6-1 loss to the Cardinals and Chris Carpenter, who took over the league ERA lead.
Wolf was charged with two runs in six innings. One of the runs reached base as a hit batter; the other scored on an infield single. The Dodgers' bullpen then allowed twice as many runs in the seventh inning as Wolf did the previous six. Third baseman Casey Blake, whose soft throws lately hint at a sore arm, bounced one for an error that made three of the runs unearned.
Carpenter went seven-plus innings and allowed one run on a sacrifice fly, but had a lot of help. His infield turned four double plays -- two on Manny Ramirez bouncers -- and right fielder Ryan Ludwick made two circus catches to shut off what could have been a big fourth inning for the Dodgers. Ramirez, who missed two of the previous four starts with a bruised hand, went 1-for-5 with a double.
There was more first-inning trouble for Wolf, who hit Mark DeRosa with a pitch with one out, retired Albert Pujols on a fly ball, but allowed a two-out RBI double to Matt Holliday when James Loney cut off Rafael Furcal's throw home. St. Louis scored again in the second on singles by Rick Ankiel, Brendan Ryan and an infield single by Julio Lugo.
The Dodgers answered by creating a second-inning run. Matt Kemp singled off third baseman DeRosa's glove, was bunted to second by Wolf, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Furcal's sacrifice fly. James McDonald took over for Wolf in the seventh and on his first pitch DeRosa homered to center.