ST. LOUIS -- Lance Lynn has been among the best first-half pitchers in the majors since cracking the St. Louis Cardinals rotation in 2011, reaching double-figure win totals before the All-Star break all three seasons. The Los Angeles Dodgers saw a pitcher determined to finish strong, too. Lynn won his third straight start Friday night, leading the Cardinals to a 3-2 victory. "Im not worried about the rest of the season," Lynn said. "Im just worried about my next start -- whenever that may be." Lynn is 33-15 with a 3.54 ERA before the All-Star break and 12-9 with a 3.91 ERA after the break. Hes been among the pitchers getting the most run support, too. Manager Mike Matheny repeated his assertion that Lynn (11-6) is "one of the most underrated pitchers in the game." "Despite what anybody else thinks, hes got a lot of wins and theres a reason," Matheny said. "Its because hes got great stuff." Matt Holliday homered and doubled with three RBIs in support of Lynn. Kolten Wong had two hits and scored on both of Hollidays RBI hits for the Cardinals against the team they beat in the NLCS last fall. They have won six of eight and remained a game behind the Brewers for the NL Central lead. "Really, I just kept my approach simple and tried to hit the ball hard back through the middle of the field," Holliday said. "I dont get ahead of myself. Ive learned playing this long to take this thing day to day." A.J. Ellis had an RBI double for the Dodgers, battling the Giants for the NL West lead. They remained offensively challenged coming out of the All-Star break, totalling 10 runs the last six games. Hollidays seventh homer, estimated at 435 feet to straightaway centre, came off Dan Haren (8-7). Lynn gave up two runs on four hits in six-plus innings. He struck out nine and worked around four walks, which tied his season high. Lynn has 44 wins the last three seasons, one behind Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright for most in the league. He bounced back from season worsts of two innings and six earned runs at Los Angeles on June 28 before leaving with a blister. "I thought he used his breaking ball more. I dont think he used his curveball in L.A. hardly at all," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It looked like it took us a while to get going." Haren piled up 99 pitches in 4 2-3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, and is among the National League leaders with 20 homers allowed. Hes totalled 8 2-3 innings his last two starts and has lost his last three outings overall. "I made a bad pitch to Holliday," Haren said. "I actually didnt make that many mistakes. It seemed like everything they hit in the air was falling, and there was nothing I could do." The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the third when Matt Kemp struck out. The Cardinals stranded three in the fourth when Lynn bounced out after an intentional walk to Tony Cruz. Consecutive doubles by Juan Uribe and Ellis leading off the seventh chased Lynn. Ellis scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to one. The Dodgers stranded two against Pat Neshek in the eighth and Trevor Rosenthal had two strikeouts in a perfect ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances. NOTES: The pairing for Saturday is Zack Greinke (11-5, 2.73), coming off his second All-Star nod, against Joe Kelly (1-1, 3.44), making his second start coming off the DL from a hamstring injury. Greinke has won his last four starts against the Cardinals and is 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA for his career against them. ... Mattingly didnt mind Kemp saying he was open to a trade if he didnt get regular playing time in a published report during the break. "The headline catches your eye and you read it and you go, Its not that big of a deal," Mattingly said. Mattingly also didnt mind that Kemp wanted to play centre field, saying "Thats fine, he can view himself however he wants. Im playing him in left." ... Holliday reached 1,000 career RBIs last month. ... The Cardinals have won their first home game after the All-Star break seven straight seasons. Adidas Schoenen Sale Heren
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. -- Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after having an operation on a groin muscle.GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Alfredo Simon has spent most of his major league career as a reliever. Hes going to get a chance to be a starter for the Cincinnati Reds at the start of spring training. Mat Latos has been slowed by knee surgery, so manager Bryan Price has decided to use Simon as a starter during spring training. The idea is to get him ready to pitch more innings in case hes needed when the season begins. Latos had minor surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee when camp opened. Hes making good progress, but the injury left him behind in his throwing program. Simon made 16 starts for Baltimore in 2011 and welcomes the chance to move into a starters role, even if its only temporary. "Im ready to go," Simon said. "I know it has been two years (since) I have started a game, but if I get the opportunity, Im going to show Bryan Price that I can be a starter." The 32-year-old had started a total of three games in the majors when the Orioles moved him into the rotation in 2011. He went 4-9 with a 4.90 ERA in 16 starts and seven relief appearances that season. The Reds claimed him off waiverrs from the Orioles on April 3, 2012.ddddddddddddHe has been a valuable right-handed reliever for Cincinnati, going 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 36 relief appearances in 2012 and 6-4 with a 2.87 ERA in a career-high 63 appearances last season. Price planned to use him out of the bullpen again until Latos got hurt. Left-hander Tony Cingrani was the main option as an extra starter last season, but has the fifth spot in the rotation this year. "We do know we are short one starter right now without Mat," Price said. "If we were to have any setbacks where Mat was not ready to start the season, we have to look at the group we have and that would include Simon. "He has the starters background. He has a very, very durable arm. We have to look at him in longer stretches." If Latos is ready to pitch at the start of the season, Simon can move back into the bullpen. "I like starting," Simon said. "I am here to do whatever they want. All of my career (in the minors) I was a starter. Sometimes I would throw one or two innings. I can do more than that. I wanted to keep pitching. I miss it." ' ' '