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STL@LAD: Cards fall to Dodgers in walk-off fashion

LOS ANGELES -- It is a pitch Ryan Franklin would like to have back.

Spoiling a sweep for the Cardinals on Sunday, Matt Kemp belted a two-run walk-off home run to straightaway center field off Franklin to hand the Cardinals a 2-1 loss in front of 27,439 at Dodger Stadium.

"It was a sinker down and away, and he just hit it," said Franklin.

He came into the game to face Kemp with a runner on second and no one out, after St. Louis reliever Trevor Miller gave up a leadoff double to Andre Ethier.

Saving games has become an especially tough situation for Franklin, who has now converted one of his past five opportunities. He is 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA.

The righty reliever has also had little success against Kemp, to whom he surrendered a solo home run in the ninth inning of Thursday's game.

"With the tying run on second base, he just tried to make a pitch and Kemp is just red hot," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

Shut out through eight innings by Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley, after scoring 29 runs over the previous three games, the only run the Cardinals managed came in a two-out rally in the ninth inning.

Matt Holliday got his third hit of the game, a double to right-center, before scoring on a bloop single to right field off the bat of David Freese with Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton pitching.

Holliday's two other hits, the only two the Cardinals managed off Billingsley, came in the second inning on a double down the right-field line and in the seventh on a single to right.

St. Louis couldn't capitalize on those hits or the two walks Billingsley surrendered, leaving a total of six runners on base.

"He just had a commanding curveball and fastball today that really made him effective," said Holliday.

"They're a very dangerous club. And it's no fun if you're falling behind to those hitters," Billingsley said. "You've just got to be able to keep them off balance and get ahead of them, and I was able to do that today."

Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter did his part to match Billingsley, coming away from Sunday's contest giving up only five hits in seven innings, while striking out five and walking none. Only one runner made it to third base.

After giving up 11 earned runs for a 0-2 record and 5.82 ERA over his first three starts, Sunday was his best outing yet.

"I felt like I had good command with my cutter and commanded the fastball on both sides of the plate," Carpenter said. "It is a pretty good lineup, and I was able to do pretty well.

"I was ahead in the count and was locating. When you control the count, you control the offense."

Carpenter got into a jam in the third inning, when Theriot booted a ball at shortstop with two outs and Jamey Carroll hit a ball off the glove of first baseman Albert Pujols to put runners on the corners, however Carpenter got Ethier to line out to Pujols to end the inning.

Carpenter also gave up a leadoff single to Aaron Miles in the top of the fifth inning and Billingsley laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Miles to second, but Tony Gwynn ended the inning on a ground ball to shortstop.

While it would be easy for the Cardinals to hang their heads in a walk-off loss, La Russa is instead looking at the silver lining of winning the series and going 6-4 on a 10-game West Coast swing.

"We won the series and really competed well," La Russa said. "It is a tough loss, but any time we win a series, it is a good thing." Comments