LOS ANGELES (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals had a chance to put a little more distance between themselves and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL wild card race after getting home runs from Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday in a span of seven batters.
Then one swing by Luis Cruz changed that. Cruz greeted St. Louis reliever Edward Mujica with a first-pitch, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Cardinals lost 8-5.
Trevor Rosenthal (0-2) inherited a 4-3 lead from fellow rookie Joe Kelly after five innings and game up a leadoff single by Andre Ethier, who got the Dodgers back into the game in the third with a two-run homer. Rosenthal hit Hanley Ramirez on a 1-0 count two outs later.
"To me, Rosey's been throwing the ball as good as anybody we have right now," manager Mike Matheny said. "We've put him in higher-leverage situations, and he's thrown the ball well. We have quite a few guys down there, so there's lots of options. But I felt very good about him coming in. Rosey's the guy we wanted there."
Matheny then made the fateful switch to Mujica, who had allowed one run in 19 innings over his 20 previous appearances with St. Louis after he was acquired in a trade with Miami on July 31. But the right-hander also had given up 16 runs and five homers in his 21 previous career innings against the Dodgers coming into the game.
"It was one pitch," Matheny said. "We got him into trouble by putting a couple of guys on base, and that usually adds some tough outs. But he's been terrific for us."
The Dodgers had a similar come-from-behind victory over the Cardinals on May 20 at Los Angeles, when pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke hit a go-ahead three-run homer off Mark Rzepczynski in the seventh inning.
"I felt a little out of my timing today, so before that at-bat I just told myself to take a pitch, just to see if he was thinking about pitching me inside," Cruz said. "But I was relaxed, and I saw it just hanging there. So I just reacted and hit it. But I wasn't trying to hit a homer."
Adrian Gonzalez made it 8-4 with a two-run double in the seventh off the glove of a diving Holliday. The hit was given up by Rzepczynski, but both runs were charged to Sam Freeman. Kelly allowed three runs and four hits in five innings with two strikeouts and two walks.
"Joe was struggling, and it was one of those days for the bullpen to come in and pick up the starter in those middle innings," Matheny said. "We all know very well that it's hurt us, and it continued to do so tonight."
Rookie Shawn Tolleson (2-1) pitched a 1 1-3 innings of hitless relief for the victory after the Dodgers got starter Chris Capuano off the hook. Capuano was charged with four runs — two earned — and six hits in four innings.
"We've faced him before, and with his stuff, he likes to get ahead in the count," Carpenter said. "So we were looking for pitches that we could handle out over the plate and try to put good swings on them. We were able to do that and get some runs off him early. Obviously we would have liked to come out with a victory, but it is what it is, and we'll be out here tomorrow ready to go."
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