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07/11/10 9:34 PM ET

Dodgers, Cards looking to make their move

The Dodgers and Cardinals each sent a host of players to the All-Star Game, but once the break is over, the two teams will look to start the second half with a surge.

This is the second and final meeting between the Dodgers and Cardinals this season. In mid-June, the Dodgers swept St. Louis in a three-game series in Los Angeles, taking the opener 12-4 before winning the next two games by one run each.

After meeting in the National League Division Series last season, both teams are in prime position to make another run at the playoffs this year. St. Louis (47-41) is one game behind surprise Cincinnati, with Milwaukee the next-closest team at 8 1/2 games back.

The Cardinals struggled to close out the first half, winning only four of their last 11 games, prompting skipper Tony La Russa to say after Sunday's 4-2 win, "We're alive and kicking. It was well deserved and we needed it."

The Dodgers also are playing catchup, only in the much tighter West division. After thumping the Cubs, 7-0, on Sunday, the Dodgers (49-39) and Rockies are two games behind first-place San Diego, with fourth-place San Francisco four games back.

The Dodgers will send left-hander Clayton Kershaw to the mound in the series opener, while the Cardinals have not yet announced their starters, mainly due to the fact that Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are on the All-Star team. Regardless of when the talented St. Louis duo pitches against Los Angeles, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said one thing is certain: The Dodgers will see them.

"You're not going to miss anybody, especially after an All-Star break," Torre said. "I know both [La Russa's] starters are going to pitch in the All-Star Game, an inning or two, so if they're not available Thursday and Friday, you'll see them Saturday and Sunday. We've had some success against them in the playoffs and in the first series here, but it didn't mean we beat their brains out. We benefited from some stuff."

Cardinals: Jay's hitting streak at 11 games
With a bunt single in the fourth inning Sunday, rookie Jon Jay extended his hitting streak to 11 games, which ties Albert Pujols for the longest by a Cardinal this season. Jay has hit safely in all 11 games he's started this season and is batting .500 (13-for-26) since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on July 3. "I don't really think about that stuff," Jay said of the hitting streak. "I just try to survive here from day-to-day, and hopefully, I can do something so I can have a chance to compete and they throw me out there."

Dodgers: Ely sent to Triple-A
After four rough outings in his last six starts, right-hander John Ely was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday. Ely, 24, was 4-7 with a 4.63 ERA in 14 starts for the Dodgers, failed to make it out of the third inning in his past two starts. "We'll figure out what I need to do, wrestle it out," Ely said. "I'm as motivated as ever, I'll be back." Prior to Sunday's win against the Cubs, Torre said he wasn't yet sure what the Dodgers would do when the fifth spot in the rotation comes around July 19 against the Giants. "If we need to go bullpen for that particular day, we will, but we have a little time before we have to make that decision, or have to come up with a pitcher I should say," Torre said. "It may be a [Carlos] Monasterios start if we decide to go bullpen."

Worth noting
Entering Sunday, Pujols led the NL with 29 two-out RBIs. Matt Holliday was tied for second in the league with 28. ... With a three-run blast on Sunday, Holliday has five home runs in his last six games.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.