Ryu, Dodgers win again by stifling Cardinals

A.J. Ellis backed another strong start from Hyun-Jin Ryu with a three-run homer in the fifth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went on to take a 5-1 victory from the St. Louis Cardinals in the finale of a four-game set.

Ryu (11-3) won his fifth straight decision by limiting the Cardinals to one unearned run on five hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter.

Yasiel Puig had three hits while Jerry Hairston and Adrian Gonzalez each drove in a run for the Dodgers, who took three of four in the series and went 7-1 on another successful road trip.

"To win this series says a lot about our team," Ellis said.

The Cardinals fell four games behind the front-running Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central race with their fourth loss in six games.

David Freese accounted for three of the seven hits for St. Louis, while Carlos Martinez (0-1) suffered a loss in his first major league start.

Martinez, who had made 10 appearances out of the bullpen this year, wiggled out of jams early before meeting his match in the fifth. Ellis stepped in with runners on the corners and two outs, and the Cardinals stuck with the rookie despite his pitch count already being in the mid-90s.

The workload apparently took its toll, as Martinez missed his spot on a fastball and Ellis turned on it and found the bullpen beyond the left-field wall for a 4-1 Dodgers lead.

Martinez wound up exiting due to a hand cramp and was charged with four runs on seven hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.

Ryu retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced, and the Dodgers got an extra run when Hairston knocked in Ellis with a pinch-hit, two-out single in the eighth.

Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen each pitched a scoreless inning of relief behind Ryu to close out the win. Jansen gave up a two-out single to Freese in the ninth, ending a string of 27 consecutive batters retired by the closer.

"Everything is working well for them right now," Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran said of the Dodgers. "They're hot."

Carl Crawford's legs helped the Dodgers get on the board in the third inning. After beating out an infield single, the speedy leadoff hitter went from first to third on Mark Ellis' base hit to right, narrowly beating Beltran's pinpoint throw to the bag.

Gonzalez flew out to deep left to plate Crawford without a play at the plate, and it stayed 1-0 until the Cardinals tied it on Andre Ethier's error in the fourth.

Matt Holliday and Freese each singled with two outs, the latter lining a base hit up the middle that was fielded by Ethier, whose nonchalant throw towards the infield went over Mark Ellis' head and hit the corner of the second-base bag. The ball caromed into left field, and Holliday trotted home.

Game Notes

The Dodgers are unbeaten in their last 14 series (10-0-4) ... LA has come away victorious in each of Ryu's last eight starts, last losing on June 19 against the Yankees ... Martinez was called up from Triple-A Memphis before the game, as was reliever Sam Freeman, who worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings ... The Cardinals also optioned pitcher Keith Butler and first baseman/outfielder Brock Peterson to Memphis.