LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mike Leake isn’t shocked to see his name atop the National League ERA leaderboard. The St. Louis Cardinals emerging ace gets why it’s a surprise to others, though.
Leake allowed four hits over eight innings and dropped his ERA to 1.91, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-1 on Wednesday night.
“No, I’m not surprised because it’s been an eight-year process for me to get to where I’m at,” Leake said. “It’s not a surprise for myself, but I’m sure it’s a surprise for others.”
Leake (5-2) struck out five and walked none while allowing an earned run. He’s yet to allow more than three runs in a start this season.
“He’s got a lot of movement on his ball,” Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger said. “He was hitting his spots. He has been effective all year, and he has got a good thing going. We just didn’t execute well tonight.”
Yadier Molina hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Molina matched Kolten Wong for the Cardinals’ longest streak this season.
Jedd Gyorko had three hits and also drew a walk during a two-run second inning that gave the Cardinals the lead for good.
Dodgers starter Rich Hill walked seven and allowed five earned runs in four-plus innings. He threw two more balls (42) than strikes (40).
Hill (1-2) walked four during a 36-pitch second inning.
“It was a bad outing. It was terrible,” Hill said. “I accept full responsibility for that. I just gave them the game. That is unacceptable.”
Hill retired the side in the first inning but was putting guys on base with regularity afterward.
“After that first inning, a very easy inning, it was pretty encouraging,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But, once he took the mound in the second inning, I think he got a little frustrated with the strike zone.”
Hill has battled blister problems since last season but said he’s healthy and that his finger wasn’t an issue.
“I can’t really pinpoint it right now,” Hill said of his problems. “Mechanically I was a little off, just kind of jumping all over the place. I am really going to work on some things this week to get right for the next outing.”
Chris Taylor made his first start in center field for the Dodgers, replacing Joc Pederson, who was out with a stiff neck following a nasty collision with Yasiel Puig on the warning track Tuesday night. Pederson has passed all concussion protocols so far, but the Dodgers are still monitoring him.
“Puig was really soft,” Pederson said. “The wall is really hard.”
TO THE PEN HE GOES?
Hyun-Jin Ryu is not on the disabled list but he’s not been pitching lately, either. The Dodgers are trying to figure out what to do with him. It was Korean night Wednesday at Dodger Stadium and T-shirts with his No. 99 were distributed. He threw on flat ground Wednesday, and the Dodgers are considering moving Ryu — who has always been a starter — to the bullpen.
“I’m just making sure Ryu feels fine physically and mentally and emotionally is in the right place,” Roberts said. “Trying to figure out when we can get him back in the mix. … We’ve discussed (the bullpen). I know Ryu is open to do whatever can help our team. If that were to happen, it wouldn’t be permanent. We have an excess of quality starting pitchers. To try to get innings for guys is tough.”
CALL TO THE PEN
Leake had thrown 98 pitches through eight innings and said he could’ve tried to finish the game but understood when Cardinals manager Mike Matheny opted to use reliever Tyler Lyons in the ninth.
“More than anything else, we don’t have any off days any time soon,” Matheny said. “I would imagine if he would’ve had a zero up there it might have been a little different. I know they all want to throw complete games, I get it. But it might be a day to save a few pitches, let somebody else finish it out and get ready for the next one.”
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 2.74) pitched six scoreless innings against the Giants in his last start. He has pitched at least six innings in all seven of his starts this season.
Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (3-2, 5.03) will come off the DL with a hamstring injury to make his start. He pitched a rehab start Friday. In his last start, May 10 against Pittsburgh, he pitched 8 1/3 innings and allowed two runs in the win.