Cards ride Carpenter into Chavez Ravine

(Sports Network) - Though coming off a victory, the Dodgers have hardly looked like the dominating team they did earlier in the season. A matchup against the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter, who has never been beaten by Los Angeles, doesn't figure to help.

St. Louis sends National League Cy Young Award candidate Carpenter to the hill tonight in the opener of a three-game series with Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.

Carpenter comes into this start riding a personal four-game winning streak. The right-hander has also won each of his last seven decisions and extended his two runs on Wednesday versus the Reds. The 34-year-old righty went seven innings and allowed two runs on eight hits without a walk while also striking out a season-high tying 10.

The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner improved to 12-3 on the season with a 2.27 earned run average. He is 5-2 in 11 road starts with a 2.69 ERA.

Carpenter is 4-0 over five career starts versus the Dodgers with a 2.18 ERA. He bested them on July 27 to start his current four-start win streak, yielding just a run over seven innings.

He'll face a Dodgers squad that is coming off a 9-3 victory over the Diamondbacks for just their third win in nine games. The victory prevented Los Angeles from getting swept and the club still has won just one of its last seven series.

Randy Wolf did it all in Sunday's win, retiring 20 straight batters after a first-inning single before running into trouble in the eighth. In all, Wolf hurled 7 2/3 innings of three-run ball in the victory while also going 3- for-4 at the plate with a two-run homer and RBI double.

"He did it all, what can I say," said manager Joe Torre. "He just kept [the Diamondbacks] off the fat of the bat, took a little off, put a little on, threw a lot of strikes [and] probably got a little tired from being on the bases in the eighth inning. He certainly gave us the lift we needed."

Andre Ethier went 4-for-5 with a three-run homer and four RBI for Los Angeles, which halted a three-game slide and still leads Colorado by five games for first place in the National League West.

The Dodgers will send Charlie Haeger to the hill tonight, and the 25-year-old will be making both his Los Angeles and 2009 debut.

Haeger made four relief outings with the Padres last year, notching a 16.62 ERA, and hasn't started in the majors since May 10, 2006 with the White Sox. It was a forgettable debut, as the righty was charged with six runs (5 earned) over 4 1/3 innings.

"It wasn't great," Haeger told LA's Web site of the outing. "It didn't go very well. I was a little amped up. I walked like six in five innings. It was a rough outing. I don't know if I learned something from that one game, but I think I've learned from a compilation of all my games. For me, it just comes down to throwing strikes, no matter what level you're at. Strikes are key."

Haeger earned this promotion with the Dodgers after going 11-6 with a 3.55 ERA in 22 starts with Triple-A Albuquerque.

The Cardinals enter this contest having won four in a row and eight of their last nine. After fighting through a pair of rain delays on Sunday, they trailed by a run in the ninth inning versus the Padres, but tied the game off closer Heath Bell on Yadier Molina's RBI single. Colby Rasmus then followed with a walk-off, two-run homer for a 7-5 victory and a three-game sweep.

"It don't get much better than that," Rasmus said. "Especially with the long delay, the rain delays and everything. I just tried to get up there and relax, get a good pitch to hit, and when I hit it, it felt pretty good."

Molina reached base in all five of his at-bats, going 2-for-2 with three walks and two RBI. St. Louis still leads Chicago by five games for first place in the NL Central.

The Cards won three of four versus the Dodgers on July 27-30 and won two of three in LA last year.