Cardinals try to overcome obstacles in finale with Dodgers

Not only did the Cardinals have to deal with reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on Saturday, but they also lost first baseman Lance Berkman to injury.

St. Louis was unable to overcome those obstacles and heads into Sunday's finale of a three-game series with hosting Los Angeles trying to avoid a fourth straight setback.

Berkman is likely headed back to the disabled list after suffering a right knee injury during yesterday's 6-0 setback. He stretched to make a catch at first in the second inning and seemed to put pressure on the injured knee before crumpling to the ground. Berkman was assisted off the field by manager Mike Matheny and an assistant trainer Chris Conroy and will undergo an MRI on Monday.

The veteran missed a month of action with a left calf strain and was playing in just his fifth game since returning from that ailment.

"That's the nature of the game," Matheny said. "It's an opportunity for someone else to step in. That's how we look at it. We just have to play better."

That was tough for the Cardinals to do against Kershaw, who threw a six-hit shutout to improve to 14-1 in his last 18 starts at home. He looked the fourth shutout of his career to give the Dodgers a victory in three straight and eight of their last 10.

"The first couple of innings I threw mainly fastballs," Kershaw said. "Once I established that I used my breaking ball and that got them out. They have a great lineup."

Andre Ethier had two hits and an RBI and Justin Sellers homered for the Dodgers, who have won six in a row over the Cardinals, their longest winning streak in this series since winning eight straight from July 24, 1975-May 12, 1976.

Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday each had two hits for the Cardinals and Jake Westbrook allowed four runs -- three earned -- over 6 1/3 innings as the Cardinals lost for the seventh time in nine games.

St. Louis has had success this season with Kyle Lohse on the mound and Matheny's squad hopes that is the case again tonight.

Lohse is 5-1 with a 2.70 earned run average in eight starts this year, with the Cards 7-1 in his outings. The right-hander rebounded from his first loss of the season to beat the Diamondbacks on May 9, but was then charged with a season-high five runs and nine hits over 6 2/3 frames of a no-decision versus the Cubs on Tuesday. Three of those runs came in the first frame, but St. Louis battled on for a 7-6 triumph.

Lohse, 33, is 2-3 with a 5.45 ERA in eight career meetings with the Dodgers, including six starts.

The Dodgers' Chad Billingsley takes aim at his first victory since the second of consecutive victories to open 2012 on April 11. He has lost three decisions in six starts since while lasting only four innings in each of his past two outings.

The right-hander is coming off a loss to the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, yielding four runs on eight hits and two walks. That left Billingsley 2-3 with a 4.65 ERA in eight starts this season.

"Singles found the holes. Last time out I beat myself with walks so I wanted to be more aggressive," said Billingsley, who walked four in a no-decision versus the Giants on May 9. "That's just the way the way it goes. You can't do anything about it."

The 27-year-old is 1-3 with a 4.65 ERA in eight previous encounters with the Cardinals, all but one of those starts.