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YOUTH SERVES DODGERS DEFEAT ST. LOUIS 5, DODGERS 1.

Byline: Brian Dohn Staff Writer

The Dodgers understood the potential pitfalls of having youth and inexperience in their starting rotation. Eric Gagne had a tremendous July, and because of that the Dodgers yanked him off the trading block.

However, as the games become more significant and the results magnified, the lack of experience could become even more noticeable.

Gagne's winless streak is a month and counting after he allowed four runs in four innings in a lethargic 5-1 loss to St. Louis in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Dodger Stadium.

The loss dropped the Dodgers not only in the National League West but also in the wild-card standings. Arizona won the opener of a doubleheader against San Diego to increase its lead to 5 1/2 games.

The Cardinals moved past the Dodgers in the wild-card standings into third place, two games behind the front-running Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers are in fourth place, 2 1/2 games back, and have lost three of the first four on a six-game homestand.

Gagne was in trouble throughout as the Cardinals had at least two baserunners in each of his innings. After becoming the Dodgers' top pitcher in July, going 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA in five starts, Gagne hasn't won in his last seven starts. In his last three outings, Gagne is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA.

St. Louis right-hander Woody Williams, acquired Aug. 2 in a trade with the San Diego Padres, pitched a four-hitter for the win. He struck out three and walked one.

Ironically, the Dodgers were interested in Williams before the trading deadline but were scared off by his $6 million salary next season. He is 3-1 with the Cardinals, who are 4-2 in his six starts.

The Cardinals, who scored all their runs with two outs, took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Williams' double. They built the lead to 3-0 in the third when former Angels outfielder Jim Edmonds hit a two-run homer just over the wall. Dodgers right fielder Shawn Green made a leaping effort but appeared to miss it by a few feet.

Gagne, who allowed five hits and walked three in falling to 4-7, walked Eli Marrero, who scored on Fernando Vina's double to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.

With Gagne having thrown 75 pitches and reinforcements coming today with the expansion of rosters from 25 to 40, manager Jim Tracy went to his bullpen in the fifth inning and they kept it within reach. Giovanni Carrara and Mike Trombley pitched two shutout innings apiece, pushing the bullpen's total to 11 1/3 scoreless innings since Tuesday.

Eric Karros hit a solo homer in the fifth to pull the Dodgers within 4-1, but they wasted an opportunity to creep closer in the seventh. With two runners on and one out, Karros grounded out to second base and Marquis Grissom grounded to shortstop to end the inning.

However, the oft-used Matt Herges, who pitched two innings the previous night, allowed a two-out double by rookie-of-the-year candidate Albert Pujols as St. Louis increased its lead to 5-1 in the ninth.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 1, 2001
Words:528
Previous Article:DODGERS SLIPPING FROM NL SCENE ST. LOUIS 5, DODGERS 1.
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