The Dodgers flew into St. Louis to begin a crucial four game series on Thursday night still riding high after their incredible accomplishment of winning a single game against the lowly Cincinnati Reds. Certainly that was a crowning achievement for them, but they face a daunting task with this long series against the team they are chasing in the National League wild card race, the Cardinals.
The Dodgers played matchups again in the series opener placing all of the right handed bats in the lineup against left hander Austin Gomber. However this time the Dodger bats were productive. The boys in blue scored nine runs on 16 hits while going 5 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Manny Machado was 3 for 4 with three runs batted in, including a solo home run in the seventh inning. He also scored twice. Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, Matt Kemp and even Austin Barnes all had two hits each, as the Dodgers knocked off the Cardinals 9-7. The win moved them to just a single game back of the Cardinals for the second wild card. Since Colorado defeated the spiraling Dbacks, the Dodgers remain 1.5 games behind in the National League West race.
They needed every single run though. The Dodger pitching staff did their absolute best to keep the Cardinals in the game and very nearly blew what should have been an easy win. The Cardinals scored six runs over the final four innings as the Dodgers barely hung on for a 9-7 win. Hey, a win is a win right? Who’s complaining?
Dodgers 9 16 2
Cardinals 7 12 0
The Dodgers started the game with singles from Taylor, and Machado in the top of the first. Former Cardinal’s World Series MVP David Freese received a standing ovation which followed by a 14-pitch at-bat and a two-run triple to put the Dodgers up 2-0. Matt Kemp’s RBI single made the score 3-0.
Clayton Kershaw was anything but his vintage self, but he did the best he could with what he had. The Cards pushed across a run in the bottom of the first when Matt Carpenter singled, Yairo Munoz doubled and Marcell Ozuna’s ground out scored Carpenter. The Dodgers added a run in the third and three more in the top of the fourth. Justin Turner and Machado knocked consecutive doubles in the third. Three straight singles from Hernandez, Barnes and Kershaw scored another to put the Dodgers ahead 5-1. Back-to-back sacrifice flies from Turner and Machado made the score 7-1 Dodgers. That chased Gomber from the game. The southpaw allowed seven earned runs on nine hits over three innings.
The bottom of the fifth nearly killed the Dodgers and Kershaw. Tyson Ross (who came in to relieve Gomber) bizarrely homered off of Kershaw to lead-off the inning. The rest of the inning saw the Cardinals get some cheap singles and take advantage of some poor Dodger defense. Carpenter’s swinging bunt single, Munoz’s ground ball single and a Freese fielding error setup an RBI single from Ozuna, and a sacrifice fly from Paul Dejong. Score: Dodgers 8 Cardinals 4.
Overall Kershaw tossed six innings allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits while striking out eight. The Dodgers added another run in the top of the seventh when Machado bombed one out for his 34 homer of the year, and the Dodgers took a 9-4 lead.
Now you would think the Dodgers would coast through the rest of the game with a five-run lead right? Oh you would be so wrong. The Cards plated another run in the bottom of the seventh when Ozuna doubled and Dejong singled him home. It could have been far worse had DeJong not gotten thrown out at third on Jedd Gyorko’s single to left. Thank you CT3!
Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth with the Dodgers still leading 9-5. Kenley Jansen took the mound and began to allow base runners. A lead-off walk to Munoz. A single to Jose Martinez put two on with nobody out. Kenley then got Ozuna to pop out. But DeJong walks to load the bases. Gyorko’s grounder to short should have been an easy game ending double play, but after getting the force at second, Machado’s lazy throw sails wide of first base as two runs score. Dodgers 9 Cardinals 7.
With two outs, the Dodger’s lead is down to two runs. Thankfully Matt Adams grounds out to end the game and the Dodgers hang on to win it 9-7. With the victory, the Dodgers have their 80th win of the season. The series continues on Friday night as Walker Buehler gets the call. The Cardinals will counter with Jack Flaherty. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST.