Machado, Kershaw lead Dodgers over Cards

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Manny Machado homered and drove in three runs to back Clayton Kershaw, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series between playoff contenders.

The Dodgers snapped a five-game losing streak against the Cardinals and moved to within one game of St. Louis for the final NL wild-card spot. The Cardinals, who went 22-6 in August, lost their second straight game and fell to 5-7 in September.

Kershaw (8-5), pitching at Busch Stadium for the first time since taking the loss in Game 4 of the 2014 NL division series, struck out eight in six innings, allowing four runs - three earned - on eight hits and two walks.

David Freese tripled on a 14-pitch at-bat against Austin Gomber to score Chris Taylor and Machado in the first. Matt Kemp followed with a single to score Freese.

Kershaw's RBI single started a four-run fourth and drove Gomber (5-1) from the game. Taylor followed with an RBI double, and Justin Turner and Machado had sacrifice flies as the Dodgers went ahead 8-1.

Machado went 3 for 4, and his solo homer in the seventh traveled 417 feet to center.

It was Gomber's first loss in the majors. The rookie left-hander went three-plus innings and gave up a career-high seven runs on nine hits.

Cardinals reliever Tyson Ross hit his second career home run in the fifth, sparking a three-run rally. He became the fourth Cardinals pitcher to homer this season, the most the team has had since 1966.

Matt Carpenter had a pair of singles and scored twice. Marcell Ozuna had two hits, an RBI and scored a run.

The Cardinals scored twice and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen needed 29 pitches to finish the game in a non-save situation.

FAN-TASTIC: The attendance was announced at 40,997, putting the Cardinals over the 3 million mark for the 15 straight season and 22nd overall.

• TRAINER'S ROOM: Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling will move back into the rotation for Sunday's game, moving LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu back to Monday and LHP Alex Wood to the bullpen.

• Cardinals: C Yadier Molina (left hamstring tightness) returned to the starting lineup after missing six games. He went 0 for 1 with a walk before leaving the game after the fourth inning with St. Louis trailing by seven. "He feels like he can catch without any issue, and clearly he'll be a little compromised on the bases," manager Mike Shildt said. "It's something that we'll sacrifice him scoring maybe a run, of course clearly we might pinch-run for him late in the game if it's applicable."

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