Yadier Molina and Marcell Ozuna hit two-run home runs, and rookie right-hander Daniel Poncedeleon worked out of a pair of early jams as the St. Louis Cardinals continued their second-half surge with a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
The victory moved the Cardinals on top in the National League wild-card chase, a half-game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers. St. Louis also moved 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
The Cardinals received a scare in the eighth inning when right-hander Carlos Martinez was hit in the chest by a line drive from Joc Pederson, but the veteran walked off the field under his own power.
Martinez was making his first relief appearance of the season. He had been activated from the disabled list pregame after missing three weeks due to a right shoulder strain.
Molina returned from a rare day off Monday to hit his 16th home run of the season in the third inning. His major league record of 27 consecutive starts for a catcher 35 years or older ended one day earlier. Ozuna also hit his 16th when he went deep in the seventh inning.
In his second career start, Poncedeleon loaded the bases with one out in the second inning as right fielder Tyler O’Neill had two hits drop in front of him that he appeared to lose in the twilight. Poncedeleon gave up just one run, which scored when he hit Yasiel Puig with a pitch.
The Dodgers again appeared to have a prime scoring chance in the fourth inning with runners on second and third with nobody out, but Poncedeleon struck out Yasiel Puig and Brian Dozier, then got Pederson to fly out.
In just his seventh major league appearance, Poncedeleon went four innings, giving up one run on five hits while throwing 90 pitches. He walked one and struck out eight. He had 10 strikeouts in his previous 17 2/3 major league innings.
Luke Weaver (7-11) gave up one run on three hits over 2 1/3 innings to pick up the victory. Bud Norris pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 26th save.
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu lasted just four innings, giving up three runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts. He threw 72 pitches in his second start since returning from a 3 1/2-month stint on the disabled list caused by a strained left groin.
Manny Machado hit a home run in the seventh inning, his 29th of the season and fifth with the Dodgers.
—Field Level Media