Betts hit a leadoff homer and Muncy had a go-ahead double in the third inning as Los Angeles won the opener of a six-game homestand after losing consecutive games at Pittsburgh. Betts spent two days on the paternity list last week, and Muncy returned to the lineup Friday.
Dodgers starter Dustin May (3-1) rebounded from a bumpy first inning to give up two runs on three hits over five innings with four walks and four strikeouts. Jason Heyward drove in two runs for Los Angeles, and rookie Miguel Vargas had a two-run homer.
“I would definitely like to get more than five (innings), but at that point and time I wasted a lot of throws, throwing a lot of balls,” said May, who threw a career-high 104 pitches. “It was good to get through five and help the guys out.”
Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty, who grew up in the Los Angeles area, allowed a season-high five runs over 4 2/3 innings while throwing 110 pitches - his most since 2019. He permitted seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
“Jack did a nice job. His pitch count got up there,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “But overall, when you look at what actually happened, there was a lot of soft balls put in play, found holes and cost a couple of runs. But his curveball got a lot of swings and misses today.”
Flaherty (2-3) was staked to an early 2-0 lead as the Cardinals began the game with a walk to Lars Nootbaar and a double by Paul Goldschmidt. Nootbaar scored on a wild pitch before May had even recorded an out.
St. Louis scored its second run of the first inning when Goldschmidt came home on a sacrifice fly from Willson Contreras.
The Dodgers mounted a quick response with Betts’ fourth home run of the season on Flaherty’s fifth pitch. Freddie Freeman followed with a single, Muncy walked with one out and Heyward singled to tie the game.
Los Angeles took the lead for good in the third. Freeman led off with a single and scored on a one-out double by Muncy, who missed the previous three games against the Pirates while on the paternity list. Heyward followed with his own double just inside third base to score Muncy.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the fifth when Heyward reached on catcher’s interference. James Outman was hit by a pitch to make it 5-2.
“A game like this, when a team like St. Louis is always going to fight to the end, it's nice to add on,” said Heyward, who also made a sliding catch in right field that saved at least one run in the third inning. “It's not easy to get runners in scoring position. So when you get guys up there in that situation, it's nice to cash in a couple of times.”
Vargas added some insurance with a two-run homer in the seventh, his first.
Flaherty is winless in four career starts at Dodger Stadium. The Cardinals are 2-6 on a 10-game West Coast trip that ends Sunday.
“(Goldschmidt) is about to get hot. The swings he is taking right now are really good,” Marmol said. “Nolan (Arenado) is looking a lot better, so that's a plus. ... There are several things pointing (up) but at the end of the day, you're paid to win."
After the Pirates stole 12 bases against the Dodgers in three games this week, the Cardinals had three more steals with Austin Barnes behind the plate.
Cardinals: LF Tyler O’Neill was a late scratch with mid-back tightness.
Dodgers: C Will Smith was activated from the concussion list, while Muncy and RHP Brusdar Graterol came off the paternity list. In corresponding moves, INF Luke Williams and LHP Justin Bruihl were optioned to the minors, and DH J.D. Martinez (back tightness) was placed on the injured list.
Cardinals: LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-3, 3.81 ERA) takes the mound after a hard-luck loss at San Francisco when he gave up just an unearned run.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (4-1, 2.32) has given up one run over his last two starts.
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