ST. LOUIS (AP) Nolan Gorman hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer off Victor González in the eighth inning, boosting the St. Louis Cardinals over the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 Saturday night and out of the NL Central cellar for the first time in nearly a month.
After the Dodgers closed with two runs in the ninth, Mookie Betts took a called third strike from Giovanny Gallegos on a full-count fastball on the outside corner, stranding the potential tying run on second.
St. Louis (20-27) has won 10 of 13 following an eight-game losing streak and moved into fourth place, percentage points ahead of Cincinnati (19-26). The Cardinals had fallen into last place on April 26.
With the score 3-3, Tommy Edman doubled off González (1-1) leading off the eighth and with one out, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts elected to intentionally walk Paul Goldschmidt. Gorman hit a 1-1 sinker for his 13th homer, a 400-foot drive into the Cardinals bullpen in right field that raised his total to 39 RBIs.
“I was just super-excited in that moment,” Gorman said. “Honestly, the crowd kind of fired me up too. It felt like a playoff atmosphere.”
Gorman's home run was his second in 39 big league plate appearances against left-handers and came on the first anniversary of his major league debut.
“In a joking way, I just asked him if he's ready to grow up,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said of allowing Gorman to face more lefties. “He said, `Yes.' I'll get him the first lefty and here we are.”
Los Angeles tried to bounce back in the ninth when Miguel Vargas doubled off Ryan Helsley (2-2), David Peralta singled and Jayson Heyward hit an RBI double. Gallegos relieved with runners on second and third, retired James Outman on a soft liner to second and gave up Will Smith’s sacrifice fly before striking out Betts for his fourth save in five chances.
“He missed it,” Roberts said about plate umpire Paul Emmel's called strike three against Betts. “Everyone’s trying to compete, all of us. It’s unfortunate that that missed call determined the finality of that game. It was a great at-bat.”
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas allowed three runs and six hits in a season-high seven innings.
“If I can keep the ball down when it needs to be and elevate when it needs to be, that's the key,” Mikolas said. “I was able to get into the seventh inning and get through the seventh for the first time this year. It's way too late in the season to just be getting through seven so, hopefully, I can build off that and have some nice long outings going forward.”
Los Angeles starter Noah Syndergaard gave up three runs and four hits in five innings in his third straight no-decision. He is 1-3 with a 5.88 ERA in nine starts.
J.D. Martinez hit a tying three-run homer in the sixth, his sixth home-run this season.
“Miles pitched a really good game.” Martinez said. “Besides that one inning, he did a good job. He was literally hitting, just dotting every pitch it seemed like on everybody."
Willson Contreras had an RBI single in the first, and St. Louis opened a 3-0 lead in the second when Alec Burleson hit an RBI double and scored on Lars Nootbaar’s sacrifice fly.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Roberts successfully challenged first base umpire Nic Lentz calling Edman safe at first base in the second inning.
Syndergaard thew out Nolan Arenado trying to steal second base in the third inning to snap a Cardinals streak of 23 consecutive successful stolen bases dating to April 23, when Arenado was caught trying to swipe second at Seattle.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urías went on the 15-day injured list retroactive to Thursday, with a strained left hamstring. Urías was pulled from his start against St. Louis on Thursday after allowing six runs on four home runs in the third inning. RHP Wander Suero was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Cardinals: OF Tyler O’Neill (lower back strain) will try to increase baseball activities.
Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (6-3, 2.52 ERA) will face Cardinals RHP and Los Angeles native Jack Flaherty (3-4, 5.24 ERA) in the teams’ final meeting of the regular season Sunday.
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