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NYM@STL: Garcia fans five, allows no earned runs

The Cardinals would love for Jaime Garcia to feel at home when he takes the mound against the Dodgers on Saturday in Los Angeles.

It's no secret that the road has not been kind to the St. Louis left-hander.

The Cardinals, who lead the Dodgers in the tight race for the second National League Wild Card berth by one game, considered skipping his start in Los Angeles but decided against it.

"I think he needs to have a point of emphasis of pitching like he can pitch, or getting hacked off at all this talk about what he's not doing on the road," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I'd love to see him have an edge about that because I have it for him, and I know a lot of guys in here do. We want him to, for lack of a better term, quiet people down about it. The only way you can do that is by going out and having a good outing."

Garcia gave up four runs in just three innings Monday against the Padres, running his road ERA on the season to 6.19, as opposed to a 2.63 mark at Busch Stadium. Overall, he's 18-11 with a 2.42 ERA in his career at home and 13-12 with a 4.69 on the road.

The Dodgers will counter with Joe Blanton, who pitched on short notice and surrendered four runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Giants in his last start. The last time he faced the Cardinals, on May 24 when he was with the Phillies, the right-hander allowed seven runs on 10 hits.

It doesn't help the Dodgers that Matt Kemp's injured right shoulder, sustained when he ran into the outfield fence at Coors Field in Denver on Aug. 28, continues to bother him. The Dodgers outfielder went 0-for-4 on Friday and is 5-for-40 in September.

"I can't say he's 100 percent," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I don't think he's probably going to be 100 percent until we get in the offseason when he gets a chance to rest and recover. I think relatively it feels like he could be productive."

But what about Kemp's recent struggles at the plate?

"He's not by himself," Mattingly said.

Cardinals: Holliday feasting on Dodgers
• Matt Holliday is hitting .340 with 21 home runs and 75 RBIs in 107 career games against the Dodgers.

• Cardinals relievers have posted a 5.56 ERA in 13 games in September, including four blown saves.

• The Cardinals are 1-4 on the current seven-game road trip.

Dodgers: Mattingly shakes things up
• Mattingly is trying to find a way to spark his club. He tried infield drills without a ball in Arizona to liven the club's spirits. He's also called Magic Johnson and Joe Torre for advice.

"I'm searching for a win. It's hard to sit here and just say we're going to sit here and ride out the way," the manager said. "We're trying to make things happen a little bit."

• Andre Ethier is hitting .359 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 21 games since Aug. 22.

• The Dodgers have scored only 22 runs in their last nine games.

Worth noting
• The Dodgers Dream Foundation will team up with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund for its annual equipment collection drive to support the growth of youth baseball and softball in the Los Angeles area on Sunday.

• Carlos Beltran is only the eighth player in Major League Baseball history and the first ever switch-hitter with at least 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

• Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela will answer questions for 30 minutes on the club's official Twitter, @Dodgers, at approximately 3 p.m. PT on Monday.

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