LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yadier Molina and Marcell Ozuna slugged two-run homers, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 on Tuesday night to improve to a major league-best 16-4 in August.
The Cardinals have homered in 14 straight games. They won the opener 5-3 on consecutive ninth-inning homers by Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter. The victory clinched their eighth consecutive series, equaling their longest streak since April 10-May 7, 2015.
St. Louis climbed to 2 ½ games back of the NL Central-leading Cubs.
Jose Martinez tied it with an RBI single in the third. Molina followed with a two-run shot to right center to make it 3-1, snapping an 0-for-17 skid and leaving him one hit shy of his 11th straight season with 100 or more.
With two outs in the seventh, Daniel Hudson hit Tyler O’Neill, setting the stage for Ozuna’s two-run homer that extended the Cardinals’ lead to 5-1.
The Dodgers’ runs came in the second when Daniel Poncedeleon hit Yasiel Puig with the bases loaded and in the seventh on Manny Machado’s 29th homer.
In his second major league start, Poncedeleon allowed one run and five hits in four innings. He struck out a career-high eight and walked one pitching not far from his hometown of Anaheim.
Cardinals reliever Carlos Martinez got hit in the upper body by a comebacker from Joc Pederson in the eighth. Martinez was knocked down and writhed on the ground as his teammates and a trainer ran to him. He soon got up and walked off under his own power as the inning ended.
Defensively, the Cardinals had a series of miscues in the outfield, all of them involving right fielder O’Neill.
He collided with second baseman Kolten Wong as they chased Yasmani Grandal’s single in the second. On the next play, O’Neill dived and badly missed a single by Chris Taylor that loaded the bases for the Dodgers.
Also in the second, center fielder Harrison Bader clearly called for a high fly ball hit by Pederson, but O’Neill came charging in with his glove in the air. Bader still managed to make the catch.
In the fifth, Bader caught Justin Turner’s long fly to right center but came dangerously close to colliding with O’Neill, who had his hands on his hips looking at Bader.
Luke Weaver (7-11) got the victory, allowing one run and three hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
Bud Norris pitched the ninth for his 26th save.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-1) gave up three runs and four hits in four innings, struck out four and walked one.
The loss dropped the Dodgers 3 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Diamondbacks, the farthest Los Angeles has been out of first place since July 1. The Dodgers fell to 32-32 at home.
KOLTEN LOOKS GOLDEN
Wong made a stellar play for the first out of the ninth inning. The second baseman laid out in shallow center field for Turner’s grounder, then pushed his upper body off the ground just long enough to wing the ball to first base before falling back to the outfield grass.
Cardinals: Activated RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder strain) from DL and optioned INF Patrick Wisdom to Triple-A Memphis. … Transferred OF Dexter Fowler to 60-day DL.
Dodgers: RHP JT Chargois went on the DL with nerve irritation. He experienced tingling in his fingers while tossing six pitches in the fifth inning a night earlier. … RHP Ross Stripling will throw a simulated game Friday.
LHP Jack Flaherty (7-6, 3.05 ERA) starts the series finale for the Cardinals. Rookie RHP Walker Buehler (6-4, 3.19) goes for the Dodgers.