Teams never want to see lengthy games on their travel day. But the result may have been worth it for the Cardinals.
After 3 hours and 46 minutes, St. Louis overcame two deficits and triumphed 6-4 over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the final game of their three-game set. With three games left on the road trip, the Cards climbed to 11-7 and claimed sole possession of first place in the National League Central.
Brad Miller broke the post-regulation tie in the top of the 14th off Caleb Ferguson, driving in Dexter Fowler and Matt Wieters, and John Brebbia held on for the save in the bottom half. In proud Dodger Stadium tradition, maybe a third of the 44,324 crowd was left at the bitter (at least for the home team) end.
"This was a total drain," said Wieters, who grabbed the start and contributed three hits in six at bats while backstopping the entire game.
"I know I am, at least. But so glad the guys persevered."
The trio of Giovanny Gallegos, Andrew Miller and Tyler Webb shut down the Dodgers for five innings before Brebbia held the 14th-inning lead. It was a rare appearance for Miller this season, as he has been struggling not with injury but with mechanics. This time, he seemed in sync and retired all three he faced in the 11th.
The Cards tallied a dozen hits and drew four walks, with all four of their runs prior to the final frame coming off of starter Walker Buehler. He was not his usual stellar self and couldn't find his targets often, but he kept the Dodgers in the game through his awkward seven-inning stint.
Wieters scored a run in the fourth and drove one in three innings later. He paired up with Tyler O'Neill on each, as they doubled back to back the first time and Wieters had a base knock in the seventh after O'Neill had again doubled. Both times, the Cards tied the Dodgers, who had taken one-run leads in the third and the sixth.
The other two Cardinals runs came in the first, on a Matt Carpenter single, a Fowler double, and a Tommy Edman single that drove the first two in.
The Dodgers were able to storm back in the third off Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson, who was almost exactly the opposite of the pitcher he was in Wrigley Field the Friday before. His sinker was inconsistent, and he was afflicted by the walk tendency that plagued him over pretty much the entire 2019 season.
After two uneventful innings, Hudson started the next frame with walks to Gavin Lux and Buehler. Mookie Betts then tripled them home, and with one out, scored on a sacrifice fly from Max Muncy.
"That was a regression," said Hudson, who only lasted through part of the fifth, giving way to John Gant. "I could not find a grip, I could not find a release point, not anything."
"We're going to focus on last Friday, not today," said pitching coach Mike Maddux. For Dakota, we want to emphasize the right things, not study the wrong ones. We'll have him back on track for sure."
Gant, after finishing the fifth without issue, surrendered a go-ahead home run to Muncy in the sixth. He remained in the game through the eighth.
The Dodgers relief corps was just as impressive between Buehler and Ferguson, who came on in the 13th. Joe Kelly and Dylan Floro ate all five stanzas from the 8th to the 12th, commanding eight strikeouts, scattering four hits and only one walk.
"Getting out of LA with a series win, that's huge," said Kolten Wong, who sat out to give Edmundo Sosa a start at second. "These guys are among the best, so it's a yardstick to measure us against. Not bad."
Next Up and Notes: The Cards begin a three-game stint in Colorado on Friday, with Kwang Hyun Kim getting another start and indoctrination to Coors Field. Adam Wainwright, who has often solved Coors like no other, rejoins the rotation Saturday, and Carlos Martinez finishes on Sunday. Miles Mikolas has suffered a bit of a setback in his rehab. Manager Mike Shildt said after Thursday's game that Miller, seemingly back on track, will probably start seeing more time in games and especially in leverage situations.