Despite Don Mattingly’s arm waving and arguing, the Dodgers are happy home plate umpire Ed Hickox didn’t eject Trevor Rosenthal after he hit Hanley Ramirez in the ninth inning Sunday.

“Thank God he didn’t throw him out, because I came up and got a hit,” said Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, whose ninth-inning single prevented a Cardinals sweep and led to a 4-3 Dodgers win. “Who knows if I would have gotten a hit against Freeman?”

But they are upset at what they call the Cardinals’ carelessness with the inside part of the plate. The Dodgers don’t believe the plunking of Yasiel Puig on Saturday and Hanley Ramirez twice Sunday featured any malicious intent, but the club still isn’t thrilled about it.

“One thing is pitching inside, and another thing is pitching inside carelessly,” Gonzalez said. “They’re showing they don’t care that they hit him. They’re not on purpose, but I don’t think they cared that they hit him. They hit Hanley last year, they hit Puig yesterday and they hit Hanley twice today. Its almost like they’re throwing inside and saying, ‘If we hit you we hit you, if we don’t we don’t.’ There comes a point where it’s enough.”

Preliminary X-rays on the hand of Ramirez, who wasn’t available for comment, came back negative. The shortstop will receive more comprehensive tests today.

Ramirez was drilled in the shoulder by a 98-mph Carlos Martinez fastball in the fourth and again in the ninth when a Rosenthal fastball hit his left hand. He looked upset after the second plunking, wandering toward third instead of first and then pacing around in circles. He was removed for a pinch runner.

Puig didn’t play Sunday after being hit in the hand Saturday by Joe Kelly.

Hickox issued warnings to both benches after Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw hit Matt Holliday in the hip in the fourth inning Sunday, a half inning after Ramirez’s first plunking.

“I’m not going to talk about that,” Kershaw said. “What I will say, though, is that it’s tough to see Hanley get hit like that so many times. It’s one thing to miss in, but when you’re missing up and in at a guy’s face like that, that’s really scary. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t doing it on purpose. But when you throw that hard you have to have a better idea where the ball is going, for sure.”

Kershaw added: “I have a ton of respect for Matt Holliday, and the way he plays the game. He’s a great player, plays the game the right way, and does everything the right way. That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

CARDS CHAT: DERRICK GOOLD AT 1 PM

Mattingly came out to argue when Hickox didn’t eject Rosenthal in the ninth. Rosenthal hit Ramirez on a two-strike count with the go-ahead run on second base in a tied game. He had struck out the previous two batters after allowing a leadoff double to A.J. Ellis to start the frame.

The Cardinals denied that the plunkings this series were spiked with any premeditation, nor that they had anything to do with the tensions stirred up in last year’s National League championship series.

“We’re just trying to make our pitches,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

With the win, Los Angeles now holds the best record in the National League. The Cardinals remain tied for first place in the Central Division after Milwaukee lost Sunday as well.

This is the last time the two teams will face each other in the regular season.

But the Dodgers have a chance to help the Cardinals out now, as they take on the Pirates for a three-game set next.

They left Busch Stadium for Pittsburgh on Sunday night. But, like last October, they could be back.

“We’re gonna protect our guys,” Mattingly said. “We’ve always done that, and that’s how the game goes.”

Joe Trezza is a sports intern at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at JoeTrezz" @JoeTrezz