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Haren falters again, Dodgers offence still struggling too after 3-2 loss to Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS - Dan Haren didn't benefit from the All-Star break, and neither did the Los Angeles Dodgers' hitters.

Haren got knocked out in the fifth inning of a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night. Since limiting the Indians to one hit in seven scoreless innings on June 30, he's lost three straight outings, allowing 15 earned runs in just 14 innings.

"The last two years I had spots where I really struggled and I was able to get through them," Haren said. "I just have to look at that.

"I know it's there."

Haren (8-7) piled up 99 pitches in 4 2-3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, and is among the National League leaders with 20 homers allowed.

"It's not so much the inning, it's the number of pitches and you can see where it's going with him," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think we've gotten to know him well enough that you start to see it."

Haren was 4-0 with a 2.39 ERA to start the year and is 4-7 since. He has an overall ERA of 4.30 and had no complaints when Mattingly took the ball.

"I haven't earned his confidence," Haren said. "I understand that."

A.J. Ellis had an RBI double for the Dodgers, battling the Giants for the NL West lead. They remained offensively challenged coming out of the All-Star break, totalling 10 runs the last six games.

"In close games, it's what we talked about before the game — it's making that key pitch, getting that big out and getting that big hit," Mattingly said. "If we were able to get it tonight in any number of innings, at least we get back to square one, and you never know what happens after that."

Matt Holliday hit a homer estimated at 435 feet to straightaway centre and doubled with three RBIs, and Lance Lynn won his third straight start for the Cardinals.

Kolten Wong had two hits and scored on both of Holliday's RBI hits for the Cardinals against the team they beat in the NLCS last fall. They have won six of eight and remained a game behind the Brewers for the NL Central lead.

Lynn (11-6) gave up two runs on four hits in six-plus innings. He struck out nine and worked around four walks, which tied his season high.

Lynn has 44 wins the last three seasons, one behind Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright for most in the league. He bounced back from season worsts of two innings and six earned runs at Los Angeles on June 28 before leaving with a blister.

The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the third when Matt Kemp struck out. The Cardinals stranded three in the fourth when Lynn bounced out after an intentional walk to Tony Cruz.

Consecutive doubles by Juan Uribe and Ellis leading off the seventh chased Lynn. Ellis, who snapped an 0 for 15 slump, scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to one.

The Dodgers stranded two against Pat Neshek in the eighth and Trevor Rosenthal had two strikeouts in a perfect ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances.

NOTES: The pairing for Saturday is Zack Greinke (11-5, 2.73), coming off his second All-Star nod, against Joe Kelly (1-1, 3.44), making his second start coming off the DL from a hamstring injury. Greinke has won his last four starts against the Cardinals and is 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA for his career against them. ... Mattingly didn't mind Kemp saying he was open to a trade if he didn't get regular playing time in a published report during the break. "The headline catches your eye and you read it and you go, 'It's not that big of a deal,'" Mattingly said. Mattingly also didn't mind that Kemp wanted to play centre field, saying "That's fine, he can view himself however he wants. I'm playing him in left." ... Yasiel Puig had two hits and is a career .344 hitter against St. Louis. ... Andre Ethier struck out three times, matching his season worst.

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