Max Scherzer struck out 13 in his hometown and Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
Scherzer (13-4) permitted one unearned run and six hits in eight innings in his 104th double-digit strikeout game, including six against St. Louis. That ties him for fifth place in MLB history.
“I don’t get caught up in the results,” Scherzer said. “I focus on the process. Results take care of themselves. Results are great when you get them. For me, it’s all about throwing strikes.”
Scherzer also recorded the ninth 200-plus strikeout season of his career. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is six away from becoming the 19th player in big league history to reach 3,000 Ks.
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“That’s a huge milestone. It’s something I’ll be proud of,” Scherzer said. “It’s great to go out there and get strikeouts but it’s great to go out there and pitch well.”
The Dodgers have won all seven of Scherzer’s starts since the St. Louis native was acquired in a blockbuster trade with Washington.
Manager Dave Roberts said Scherzer has provided a big boost.
“He’s better than advertised,” Roberts said. “We knew what we were going to get as a far as the player. He’s certainly even exceeded that. He’s as good as they get. We’ve needed him.”
The Cardinals lost for the fourth time in five games. They dropped 3 1/2 games back of idle San Diego for the second NL wild card.
St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas (0-2) was charged with five runs, four earned, and five hits in five innings. Paul Goldschmidt had three hits for the Cardinals, and Tommy Edman scored the team’s only run on Austin Barnes’ passed ball in the sixth.
“The guy is tough,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said of Scherzer. “Today, he got the better of us. He did a nice job. He gets better as he goes. He’s a workhorse. He expects to go deep in games.”
The Dodgers remained one game back of NL West-leading San Francisco. The World Series champions dropped two of three against the Giants in their previous series, and then didn’t get to their hotel room until about 3 a.m.
But they jumped all over Mikolas for four runs in the first.
“The guys sleepwalking and to go out there and get me four runs is such a huge boost for me,” Scherzer said. “That lets me go out there and be aggressive.”
Mikolas needed 31 pitches to get out of the inning.
“I made a few bad choices as far as location goes,” Mikolas said. “They hit mistakes well.”
Trea Turner doubled and scored on Mookie Betts’ single. After Max Muncy scored on a double play, Corey Seager walked before Taylor drove a fastball into the left-field bullpen for his 20th homer.
Taylor entered the game in a 1-for-13 slump.
“Obviously, I haven’t been feeling the best the last couple of weeks and it felt good to get hold of something and see it go over the fence,” Taylor said. “I’ve been grinding. Hopefully, I can relax and carry this over into the rest of this series.”
Los Angeles added an unearned run in the third. Betts walked and went to second on a pickoff throwing error by catcher Andrew Knizner. He scampered home on Seager’s two-out single.
Mikolas has not pitched more than five innings in any start this season. He has allowed three or more earned runs in each of his last three starts.
NO LABOR TODAY
St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado and catcher Yadier Molina each got the day off.
GIVE US PUJOLS
In the top the ninth, a loud “We want Albert” chant began for former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. When he did not appear to pinch-hit, the crowd of 43,575, the largest of the year, rang out with loud boos.
CAN’T DODGE THIS
The Dodgers visited Busch Stadium III for the first time since April 8-11, 2019, a span of 879 days.
Dodgers: RHP Neftalí Féliz was promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City, and LHP Andrew Vasquez was sent down. Féliz, 33, returns for his second stint with the club after being designated for assignment on Aug. 24. The 2010 All-Star has spent 10 years in the majors.
Cardinals: RHP Brandon Dickson, 36, has been designated for assignment. Dickson, who helped the U.S. to a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics, had his contract selected by the club on Sept. 1. In two relief appearances, he allowed two runs on four hits.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (inflamed elbow) is scheduled to pitch three innings Tuesday for Triple-A Oklahoma City. If all goes well, the club expects Kershaw will be ready to return for his next start.
Cardinals: LHP Andrew Miller (left foot blister) was activated from the 10-day injured list. He also was out from late April to early June with a right foot toe blister.
Veteran left-hander J.A. Happ (8-7, 6.20 ERA) pitches Tuesday for St. Louis. He is facing the Dodgers for the first time since 2012. The Dodgers hadn’t announced their starter.