- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Carlos Frias and Michael Wacha both threw 107 pitches in a rematch of their encounter five days earlier in St. Louis.

The results, however, were one-sided.

Frias was charged with five runs - three earned - and 10 hits while working into the seventh inning Thursday night, and the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 7-1 to Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a four-game series between the National League’s top two teams.

“He was trying to be perfect, as to throwing his slider in the dirt, which is one of his best pitches. But he was just leaving balls over the plate,” Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. “Against a team like that, you can’t really do that. You’ve got to make pitches when you need to. But he stayed in the game for a long time and he kept competing, and that’s one of the things you want to see from a young guy like him.”

St. Louis opened the scoring in the third with a pair of unearned runs. Jhonny Peralta and Mark Reynolds had RBI singles after a two-out error by third baseman Justin Turner on Matt Carpenter’s grounder in the hole and Matt Holliday’s single.

“That’s a tough pitcher that we were facing again today, but our guys were putting great at-bats together against him and getting the big hits whenever we needed them to,” Wacha said. “It was a lot of fun watching those guys go to work up there at the plate.”

The Cardinals increased the margin to 5-0 in the fifth on Holliday’s sacrifice fly and Jason Heyward’s two-out, two-run single off Frias (4-3), who lasted 6 2-3 innings.

“He has to learn from his mistakes,” Grandal said. “In the next five days, we’ll just work on getting that two-seamer in on righties and making sure the slider command is better.”

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the sixth. Alex Guerrero hit a sacrifice fly, but Jimmy Rollins grounded out.

Los Angeles rookie Joc Pederson, who homered in his previous five games to give him 17 for the season, doubled in the third and was stranded when Grandal flied out. In the fifth, Pederson stranded two runners in scoring position when he took a called third strike.

“We were attacking him all day,” Wacha said. “We were staying pretty hard with him away and not giving him too much in the middle of the plate, because he’ll make you pay for those kind of pitches. I ended up getting him with a backdoor cutter, and it was good to get out of there without any runs.”

Wacha (8-1) allowed a run and seven hits over seven innings without walking a batter, five days after the Dodgers beat him 5-1 at St. Louis in a game that was delayed more than 2 hours by rain. This was the right-hander’s first road start against the Dodgers, whom he defeated twice in the 2013 NL championship series while shutting them out in 13 2-3 innings.

Wacha became the first Cardinals pitcher to begin a season 6-0 on the road since 2005, when Chris Carpenter won his first 12 decisions away from Busch Stadium and Matt Morris his first six.

“There’s no game plan against a guy like that, so you just stay aggressive. He was spotting his fastball a little bit better than last time. But other than that, I didn’t see anything different,” Grandal said. “It’s not like we didn’t hit him tonight. We just couldn’t get anything going.”

The Cardinals, who knocked the Dodgers out of the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, increased their NL Central lead to 6 1/2 games over idle Pittsburgh. The Dodgers’ advantage in the West shrunk to 1 1/2 games over San Francisco.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was cleared by the team’s medical staff to pitch, a day after the altitude in Denver caused high blood pressure, a headache and an upset stomach. … 2B Howie Kendrick was held out because of a sore knee, which he hurt sliding into third base Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (5-2) hasn’t allowed a run in his last three starts, spanning 20 1-3 innings. Last Sunday he held the Dodgers to one hit over seven innings and struck out eight in a 3-1 victory, following an emotional pregame tribute to his late teammate and best friend Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a car accident in October.

Dodgers: LHP Brett Anderson (2-3) goes into his rematch with Martinez 0-2 with a 3.28 ERA over his last four starts.

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