The Dodgers blew two late leads, wasted eight scoreless innings from starter Clayton Kershaw and finally fell to the Cardinals on Wednesday night in 15 innings, 3-2, suffering their fourth consecutive loss on Albert Pujols' two-out RBI hit over center fielder Matt Kemp's head.
Brendan Ryan led off the last inning with a triple into the left-field corner off Jeff Weaver. Pinch-hitter Jason LaRue popped out, former Dodger Julio Lugo walked and Mark DeRosa bounced to Rafael Furcal, who threw Ryan out at the plate. Pujols followed with the winner.
The Dodgers took leads when James Loney cashed in a gift triple by Casey Blake with an RBI single in the fourth inning and Kemp brought home Blake with a sacrifice fly in the 11th.
But the Dodgers' bullpen couldn't protect either lead. Closer Jonathan Broxton, asked to protect Kershaw's precarious lead, got two quick outs in the bottom of the ninth -- Pujols on a spectacular play by Furcal and a three-pitch strikeout of Matt Holliday -- but blew the save when Ludwick singled sharply, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Colby Rasmus' broken-bat single.
Ramon Troncoso, after pitching out of a jam with the score tied in the 10th, couldn't wrap it up in the 11th, allowing three hits and a run. Hong-Chih Kuo, in his second appearance after three months on the disabled list, saved Troncoso from a loss by striking out Rasmus and getting Yadier Molina on a diving catch by Andre Ethier.
Kershaw allowed four hits, two walks and struck out seven. He was removed after making 112 pitches. In his past nine starts, he is 5-0 with four no-decisions and an 0.79 ERA -- the best in the Major Leagues dating to June 10.
Manny Ramirez made a run-saving catch with two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh inning, robbing Ryan of extra bases with a catch in front of the left-field fence. Ramirez was thrown out at the plate by Ludwick from right field trying to score on Blake's single to end the top of the 12th.