Dodgers sputter again in 11-2 loss to Cardinals

For the second straight game, the Dodgers' pitching was no match for the overpowering St. Louis Cardinals.

The Dodgers' staff allowed 19 hits, including four home runs, and got beat 11-2 Friday night, extending their season-high losing skid to four games.

Jon Garland got a rude welcome to the season. He gave up five runs and nine hits in four-plus innings of his first start, having come off the disabled list earlier in the day after being sidelined with a strained left oblique during spring training.

"I felt pretty good, but I was just throwing pitches over the middle of the plate," he said. "You can't do that to big-league hitters, especially a team that's catching fire right now. They seem to be hitting everything thrown up there, and they're doing a pretty damn good job of it."

The Cardinals' offense continued unabated as they reached .500 for the first time this season, with five wins in their last six games. They won the series opener 9-5 and collected 16 hits on Thursday.

"They outplayed us, out-hit us and scored more runs. That's it," said Matt Kemp, who is hitting .449 this season. "We've just got to come back tomorrow and start all over again and put some runs on the board."

In their five games since Monday — three against Arizona — the Cardinals have hit 13 homers and scored 51 runs. They've had 14 or more hits in five consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 31-Sept. 7, 1930, when they did so in six straight.

Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman each hit homers in consecutive at-bats, while Yadier Molina had four hits — all singles — and starter Kyle Lohse singled, too.

Garland struck out two and walked none. He was called for the first balk of his career that led to a run in the second.

"I still don't think it's a balk," the pitcher said. "He said I started (toward the plate), which is weird because when I start to go back into my set (position), I go back, and he said I went forward. So I think maybe he blinked and then saw me turn because I turn and look at the runner every time someone's on base. And until you're set, you can do that."

The Dodgers' staff allowed their most hits since giving up 20 at Colorado on July 21, 2008. The four homers given up were the most since last Sept. 4 against San Francisco.

Lohse (2-1) allowed two runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander struck out six, including Aaron Miles in the seventh for his 1,000th career strikeout, and walked one.

Berkman homered into the lower right field seats on Garland's first pitch of the second inning. David Freese scored from third base on the balk and Ryan Theriot hit an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.

Berkman homered again leading off the fourth for his second multihomer game since Monday.

Pujols hit a two-run shot in the fifth against Kenley Jansen that extended the Cardinals' lead to 5-2 after Colby Rasmus chased Garland with a leadoff double. Pujols then led off the seventh with a homer to straightaway center field off Blake Hawksworth, making it 7-2.

The Dodgers scored both their runs in the fourth on Kemp's RBI single and a wild pitch by Lohse with two outs.

NOTES: Pujols had his 40th career multihomer game and first since last September. ... Dodgers RF Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an infield single in the fourth. ... Don Newcombe, a former teammate of Jackie Robinson on the Dodgers, threw out the first pitch to Kemp on the annual day baseball honored the player who broke the sport's color barrier 64 years ago.