LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Dodgers were well aware that Lance Lynn was experiencing blister problems on his middle finger. And for two innings, they showed callous disregard for his fastball — the only pitch the St. Louis Cardinals’ right-hander could throw without pain.
Andre Ethier and three of his Los Angeles teammates hit RBI doubles during a six-run second inning Saturday en route to a 9-1 victory, enabling Zack Greinke to become the third NL pitcher to reach double digits in wins.
“I think everyone could see that Lynn was just getting the fastball across,” Ethier said. “And when a guy can only do that and isn’t having any luck with anything else, I think it’s a sign for a hitter to look for a straight heater, dead-red, and wait for that pitch over the plate.”
Greinke (10-4) allowed a run and four hits over seven innings, struck out 10 and did not walk a batter as the Dodgers won for the 11th time in 15 games. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner is 13-2 with a 1.98 ERA in 19 starts following a Dodgers loss since signing a $147 million, six-year contract in December 2012.
Lynn (8-6) lasted just two innings and was charged with seven runs, nine hits and two wild pitches. He is 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA in six starts since throwing his first professional shutout May 27 and beating the Mets 6-0 with a career-high 126 pitches.
“Honestly, I have blister problems every time I start, but I usually don’t have them rip off like they did today,” Lynn said. “I’m missing a lot of the top part of my finger — the whole tip, pretty much. I think it dried out, coming from Colorado, and it just ripped off. The wetter it got today, the more it kept going back. But that’s a part of pitching. You try to get through those things, and I wasn’t able to do that.”
Los Angeles got an unearned run in the first after back-to-back infield hits by Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, who returned to the lineup after missing four games with a sore right shoulder. Puig went to third on a fielder’s choice grounder by Adrian Gonzalez and continued home when shortstop Daniel Descalso dropped the ball on the exchange from his glove to his right hand.
The Dodgers, who didn’t get an extra-base hit in the first two games of this series, broke it open during Lynn’s 45-pitch second inning with the doubles by Ethier, Justin Turner, A.J. Ellis and Dee Gordon. Gonzalez and Matt Kemp added two-out RBI singles.
“If I threw anything else but the fastball, it hurt. It was burning,” Lynn said. “But I’m a fastball pitcher, anyway, and they were ready for it. I tried to throw some other pitches, but I just didn’t have any feel with it.”
The defending NL West champs sent 11 batters to the plate during their most productive inning of the season — including Miguel Rojas, who came in as a pinch runner after Turner strained his left hamstring running out his double.
“I think we needed a good offensive showing for Zack because of how well he’s done for us,” Ethier said. “He’s had a couple of tough losses lately, so it was good to put up some early runs for him and let him do his work.”
Greinke became the first Dodgers pitcher to reach double digits in wins before the All-Star break since 2007, when Brad Penny started 10-1 and finished 16-4.
Matt Carpenter’s third-inning homer accounted for St. Louis’ run. The defending NL champions tried to get back in the game in the fifth, but Greinke struck out Carpenter with runners at second and third.
During the Dodgers’ big rally, one of Lynn’s pitches missed Greinke’s head by inches after he squared to bunt. Gordon tried to score from second on a wild pitch to Ramirez, as Yadier Molina jogged back to the screen to retrieve it. But the six-time Gold Glove winner got the ball to Lynn in time for the tag on Gordon.
“He’s always trying to take the extra base, so you’re always aware,” Lynn said. “I didn’t think that he would do it, but you’ve always got your eye on him just in case. I don’t even know if I would have gotten three outs that inning if it weren’t for that one.”
NOTES: Rojas replaced Ramirez at SS in the third inning and Juan Uribe took over at 3B for Turner. Uribe drove in the Dodgers’ final two runs with a bases-loaded single in the eighth. … Greinke has made 121 starts since committing his last error on July 16, 2010, for Kansas City. The 11-year veteran has never won a Gold Glove. … Lynn got a victory in relief against the Dodgers in the opening game of last year’s NL championship series and won Game 4 in a starting role. … The Dodgers have played nine consecutive errorless games, their longest streak since a nine-game stretch in June 2004. … The Dodgers have hit only two homers over their last 10 games and five in their last 13, all of them solo shots.