Ankiel jacks a pair prior to wild finish

Ankiel jacks a pair prior to wild finish

at Vero Beach, Fla.
Friday, March 14

Cardinals at the plate: Rick Ankiel gave his team a quick lead in the first inning, narrowly clearing the center-field wall with a homer. The Cardinals couldn't muster much more offense until Ankiel mashed his second homer in the eighth inning, this one good for three runs. With the two hits, he also improved his Grapefruit League average to .368. The Cards eventually won the game in quirky fashion, scoring twice on a wild pitch.

Dodgers at the plate: Offense evaded the Dodgers until the fourth inning, when Russell Martin launched a two-run homer that needed mere seconds to leave Holman Stadium. The next three hitters all reached base, in a sequence highlighted by Jason Repko's RBI single. Repko later added another RBI single in the eighth.

Cardinals on the mound: Non-roster invitee Clay Mortensen allowed three runs over 3 1/3 innings, giving way to a bullpen that ultimately fared better. Though Russ Springer allowed one of the runners he inherited from Mortensen to score, Ron Villone and Randy Flores each followed with a perfect inning. Combined, those two have allowed one earned run all spring.

Dodgers on the mound: Further solidifying his spot at the back of the Dodgers rotation, Esteban Loaiza continued his strong spring with five innings of one-run ball. The lone run was his first in three March outings. Jonathan Broxton and Joe Beimel each pitched a scoreless inning in relief but the rehabbing Yhency Brazoban continued to struggle, allowing Ankiel's second homer.

Grapefruit League records: Dodgers 6-10-1; Cardinals 7-9-1.

Up next for the Cardinals: Adam Wainwright will continue to build his endurance on Saturday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., when he makes his fourth Grapefruit League start -- and his fourth road start -- of the spring. Last time out against the Braves, Wainwright allowed two runs over five innings, needing only 31 pitches to do it. He'll be followed on Saturday by relievers Ryan Franklin and Cliff Politte, and opposed by Mets lefty Johan Santana in the 12:10 p.m. CT game.

Up next for the Dodgers: Closer Takashi Saito, sidelined for most of this spring with tightness in his right calf, is scheduled to make his Spring Training debut in Viera, Fla., on Saturday against the Nationals. After finishing last season with a 1.40 ERA and 39 saves, Saito will spend the next two weeks attempting to work back into game shape. Brad Penny will start Saturday's 10:05 a.m. PT game, followed also by relievers Scott Proctor and Jason Johnson. Lefty John Lannan will get the nod for the Nats.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.