ST. LOUIS — When three of the first four Los Angeles batters got hits on Wednesday night, it looked like it might be another long night for the Cardinals.
Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina had other ideas.
After the third hit, a double by Corey Seager that drove in a run, Wainwright retired the next 15 hitters he faced, making a two-run homer by Molina in a three-run first stand up for a much-needed win at Busch Stadium.
Wainwright almost matched his batterymate, making their 301st start together, but his bid for a home run was caught at the center field wall in the seventh.
The Cardinals had to hold off a rally by the Dodgers in the ninth to get the win. They scored twice before Giovanny Gallegos was able to end the game with a strikeout, stranding the would-be tying at first and leaving Albert Pujols in the on-deck circle.
The victory broke a four-game losing streak and kept the Cardinals 3 and a half games out of the second wild-card playoff spot.
Pujols made his second start of the series, his third career game facing Wainwright, and grounded out in all three of his at-bats. Pujols is now 1-of-10 against Wainwright, with the only hit, a single, coming in 2013 when the Cardinals played the Angels in Los Angeles. Wainwright had not faced Pujols since 2016.
Here is how Wednesday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt led off the first with a pair of singles and both came around to score. Nolan Arenado’s ground out, following a double steal, brought in Edman and Molina followed with his two-out homer, his 10th of the season … The Cardinals added runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Edmundo Sosa, also with two out , and in the eighth, when Tyler O’Neill led off the inning with his 24th home run of the year.
On the mound: Wainwright improved his record to 15-7, his most victories since his 20-win season in 2014. He is 8-1 since July 27, with his only loss coming to the Brewers when he allowed two runs in six innings … Wainwright’s string of consecutive outs began after Mookie Betts was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Seager’s double. The streak was snapped by a homer by Max Muncy with one out in the sixth. Wainwright had gone 49 innings and faced 186 batters since allowing his last homer, on Aug. 1. Following the homer, he retired the next seven batters before Trea Turner singled leading off the ninth. A one-out single by Betts brought the tying run to the plate. Seager drove in a run with a single, ending Wainwright’s night after 104 pitches.
Key stat: Molina’s homer was the 25th of the season by the Cardinals in the first inning, their most in any inning. They have hit 24 in the third inning.
Worth noting: Brandon Dickson, who was designated for assignment on Monday to open a roster spot for Andrew Miller, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Memphis. When he had been called up by the Cardinals on Sept. 1, it appeared he would be in town for the reunion of the 2011 world champion Cardinals on Sept. 17-18, but now he will miss the event – as he had expected – before his unexpected promotion … It was Dylan Carlson’s turn to get a day off on Wednesday, with Lars Nootbaar getting the start in right field … Tommy Edman’s stolen base in the first inning was his 24th of the season, just two behind league leader Trea Turner.
Looking ahead: Jake Woodford will get the start in the 12:15 p.m. game on Thursday, the final game of the four-game series.