LOS ANGELES – Luis Cruz came up with his second clutch hit in two nights, a tying two-out RBI double in the ninth inning, and pinch-hitter Juan Rivera followed with a run-scoring single to lift the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night.
Jason Motte (4-5) came in trying to protect a 3-2 lead for Jaime Garcia and retired his first two batters. But Andre Ethier kept the Dodgers alive with a single and pinch-runner Dee Gordon stole second before Cruz drove him in with a drive that center fielder Jon Jay barely missed on a diving attempt in front of the warning track.
Rivera batted for A.J. Ellis and lined a single off the tip of second baseman Daniel Descalso’s glove, enabling pinch-runner Elian Herrera to score the winning run.
Ronald Belisario (6-1) pitched 1 innings for the victory. Teammate Matt Kemp helped make it possible in the top of the ninth. He crashed into the center field fence trying to catch Yadier Molina’s drive over his head, but recovered in time and kept him from stretching his hit into a triple with a brilliant somersaulting throw to Cruz.
On Friday night, Cruz helped beat the Cardinals, 8-5, with a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth against Mujica.
The Dodgers’ third victory in 10 games tied them with the Cardinals for the second wild-card spot with 16 remaining for both clubs. The Cardinals lost despite a homer and three RBI by Allen Craig.
After this four-game series concludes on today, the Cards will play their next nine games against the Astros and Cubs – who are a combined 83 games under .500 and 691/2 games out of first place in the NL Central.
The defending World Series champions put themselves into this precarious position by losing 13 of their last 28 games.