- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Zach Greinke is winless in his last six starts, despite the fact that he’s given up only one run in five of them. Most of the blame can go to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen, which imploded again Sunday night.

Adam Liberatore walked his first batter in the eighth inning, then Juan Nicaso gave up an RBI triple by Matt Holliday, a run-scoring single by Jhonny Peralta and an RBI double by Mark Reynolds. And in no time flat, the St. Louis Cardinals turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 victory.

Greinke held the team with baseball’s best record to six hits through 6 2/3 innings and struck out eight, giving up his only run in the sixth on Peralta’s ninth homer. Manager Don Mattingly removed the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner after 99 pitches with a runner on first and brought in Liberatore, who fanned Kolten Wong to end the inning.

“It makes a lot of sense, what they did,” Greinke said. “Liberatore’s been amazing getting lefties out all year. The decision was matchups. I still felt good, but the matchup made sense.”

Peralta, who leads St. Louis with 34 RBIs, was 11 for 21 with two home runs and eight RBIs during the seven-game season series, which the Cardinals won 5-2 against the team they knocked out of the playoffs in each of the previous two years.

“Jhonny’s a real difference maker. He’s been putting together some good at-bats and getting some big RBIs for us,” manager Mike Matheny said. “We’ve been firing him into that cleanup spot, but he’s fit wherever we’ve put him.

“Last year, Jhonny blew us away with the consistency of his defense, and this year it’s his ability to get the big hit.”

Kevin Siegrist (3-0) pitched one inning for the victory, striking out the side in the seventh on 17 pitches. Trevor Rosenthal, the sixth Cardinals pitcher, threw a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 20 attempts.

Nicasio (1-2) took the loss for the Dodgers.

Jimmy Rollins, who came to the plate in the Dodgers’ sixth with just two RBIs in his previous 76 at-bats, was deprived of one by right fielder Jason Heyward - who charged his base hit and threw out Andre Ethier at the plate with the help of a lunging tag by Tony Cruz. Moments earlier, Ethier had stolen his first base of the season.

“You always try to know the situation and who’s who, but you never really think about whether you can get him,” Heyward said. “You just charge the ball and make the best play possible. That’s all you can do as an outfielder. I just wanted to make sure I kept the throw down and low enough for them to cut it if they wanted to, and it was a bang-bang play at the plate.’

Yasiel Puig, playing his second game after missing 39 because of a left hamstring strain, singled with one out in the first and came all the way around on Justin Turner’s two-out double. Turner, starting in the cleanup spot for the third time in four games, made it 2-0 in the third with a two-out single that scored Greinke from second base after the pitcher led off the inning with his first hit.

Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn threw 98 pitches over five innings, allowing two runs and six hits while striking out five. He has yet to give up a home run in 31 career innings against the Dodgers, going 3-1 with a 4.35 ERA and 37 strikeouts in six starts.

Lynn, who was knocked out of a start at Dodger Stadium against Greinke last June because of a blister on his middle finger, got a visit from Matheny and a trainer after the Dodgers opened the fifth with Greinke’s second single of the game and a walk to Joc Pederson on the right-hander’s 92nd pitch.

Lynn retired the next three batters on flyballs, using six more pitches before Mitch Harris took over to start the seventh.

“It’s one of those opportunities you hope doesn’t come back to bite you,” Mattingly said. “You get the first two guys on, we’re in a good part of the order with 2-3-4 in there. Our guys had been swinging the bat, so you’re disappointed when you don’t do anything there.”

The NL West-leading Dodgers were coming off a 2-0 victory Saturday night in which Clayton Kershaw held St. Louis to one hit over eight innings. Carpenter was back in the Cardinals’ lineup after taking a fastball to the right triceps from Kershaw in the first inning of that game, forcing him out three innings later.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP John Lackey (4-3) goes into the opener of a three-game series at cozy Coors Field having allowed just two home runs in his last 68 1/3 innings, spanning 284 batters.

Dodgers: RHP Mike Bolsinger (3-1) opposes former Dodger Rubby De La Rosa in the opener of a three-game set against the visiting Diamondbacks, who selected Bolsinger in the 15th round of the 2010 draft.

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