Can you say, Déjà vu?
Last Thursday the Dodgers allowed three runs in the first inning to St.Louis, only to score seven unanswered runs in return and win the game.
Once again, the Cardinals scored three runs in the first inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers scored seven unanswered in response as they rallied to beat the Redbirds, 9-4, on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.
The victory gave Los Angeles their season-high sixth win in a row as the Dodgers move into sole possession of first place in the National League West for the first time this season.
No coincidence, both the starting pitchers on the mound last Thursday in Los Angeles were on the mound again on Tuesday as Maeda allowed three runs in the first frame for the second straight start.
Once again, Maeda settled down after the rocky start, throwing three scoreless innings before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fifth.
"For us to be fortunate to only be down 3-0, I guess was a good thing," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "For Kenta to go back out there and throw three scoreless innings was huge. He kept us in the ballgame."
Maeda did not make it the minimum five innings in order to get the win, surrendering three runs on four hits, with three walks and two strikeouts in just four innings.
Call it jet-lag or just bad luck, but the Dodgers started the game with some sloppy baseball as the team committed three errors in the first two innings and failed to bring home Chase Utley after a leadoff triple started the top of the second inning.
"It was ugly there early," agreed Roberts. "We kicked the ball around uncharacteristically and we had an opportunity early and didn't cash in. We just couldn't get on track."
Just as they did five days ago, the Dodgers would respond and get back to their winning ways as they scored four runs on the Redbirds in the third inning.
Once again, it was the hot-hitting Utley who was at the center of the rally as the 38-year-old veteran roped a ground-rule double down the left field line to close the gap.
Utley finished the game a home run shy of the cycle as he went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
St. Louis second baseman, Paul DeJong made an errant throw on a groundball up the middle one batter later, and his error cost the Cardinals an extra run as the tying and go-ahead runs scored for the Boys in Blue.
The Cardinals bullpen struggled with their command in the top of the fifth inning as Tyler Lyons hit Utley with a pitch before walking back-to-back batters, awarding the Dodgers a free run.
Lyons was replaced by John Brebbia, but the right-hander immediately walked pinch-hitter Franklin Gutierrez allowing another run to cross the plate.
Michael Wacha (2-3) took the loss against L.A. for the second time in a week, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in just three short innings.
Brandon Morrow (1-0) got the win in just his second appearance with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers bullpen saw their streak of scoreless innings of relief come to an end at 24 and 2/3 as Christ Hatcher surrendered a solo home run to Yadier Molina in the bottom of the eighth.
Yadier Molina cranks his fifth home run of the season, a solo homer to left, to cut the Dodgers' lead to 7-4 in the 8th!!! #STLCards pic.twitter.com/LxVa6OCSwo— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 31, 2017
Ironically, Molina was the last person to score a run off the Dodgers bullpen when he homered last Wednesday in Los Angeles. Hatcher, was also the pitcher who started the scoreless streak that night with two scoreless innings at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning off former Dodger Jonathan Broxton to close the door on the Cardinals.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will start for the Dodgers just five days removed from his first career relief appearance as Los Angeles looks to make it seven in a row against Cardinals' starter Carlos Martinez. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST.