“We had a lot of guys contributing,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “A lot of different guys stepped up. It was good to see the guys do their jobs. It’s fun to play good teams. It’s a credit to our guys.”
The teams squared off for the first time this season. Their last matchup came in last season’s NL wild-card game, when Chris Turner hit a two-run, walk-off homer off Alex Reyes for a 3-1 victory.
Andrew Knizner, the No. 9 hitter, drove in three runs on three singles as St. Louis won its third straight.
“That was a good win against a good team that’s hot right now,” Knizner said. “We pitched good. We got timely hits. We played good defense.”
Trea Turner had a two-run homer and single, and scored a season-high three runs for the Dodgers, who are 11-2 in their last 13 games. Freddie Freeman added a solo homer, two singles and an RBI double. It was Freeman’s fourth four-hit game of the season, leading the majors.
Juan Oviedo, the second of seven St. Louis pitchers, improved to 2-1 with the win. He worked 1 1/3 innings. Giovanny Gallegos gave up a leadoff homer to Freeman, but hung on in the ninth inning for his 10th save.
Pujols hit a 0-1 pitch into the left field seats with two outs in the second inning off Mitch White, who had retired the first five batters he faced before giving up consecutive hits in the second. It was Pujols’ 685th career home run and sixth this season. He celebrated his 451st homer with the Cardinals in style, with a double high five with rapper Nelly.
“I mean, just walking up to the plate, this place goes nuts,” Marmol said. “He hits a homer. It came at a time when it was needed. That’s what veteran guys like him do. Albert’s taking really good at-bats. His presence is needed.”
Pujols, MLB’s oldest player at 42 years old, is 11 homers behind Alex Rodriquez, who has career 696 homers. Pujols has hit homers off 446 pitchers in his career. Barry Bonds leads the way, hitting homers off 449 pitchers.
The Cardinals added two more runs in the second, stringing together a single, ground rule double, wild pitch and another single for a 3-0 lead.
The Dodgers scored a run in the third off Oviedo on a double by Freeman, scoring Trea Turner.
“You get into those little zones and you don’t miss them,” Freeman said. “You just ride them. I feel good at the plate.”
Gorman snapped an 0-for-12 skid with a two-out homer to center in the third, giving St. Louis a 4-1 lead. It was his eighth homer since joining the club May 20.
St. Louis added two runs in the fourth on singles by Knizner and Nolan Arenado, extending the lead to 6-1.
“That’s what I need to do,” Knizner said. “Produce when I can and get RBIs. With this lineup we’re playing against, you’re never safe.”
An RBI single by Will Smith cut the St. Louis advantage to 6-5 in the seventh. Rookie reliever Packy Naughton came on with the bases loaded and pitched out of the jam, getting two shallow fly outs and a strikeout of Cody Bellinger.
“I knew my fastball was playing and it worked out,” Naughton said about retiring Bellinger.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said he liked the matchups in the inning.
“We just didn’t execute,” Roberts said. “That’s baseball. They dodged a bullet there.”
Naughton has stranded all nine inherited runners he has had this season.
“Hey, this is my job,” Naughton said. “This is what I’m paid to do. If I wasn’t doing it, we’d had an issue. Every kid when they were growing up thinks about coming in with the bases loaded and no outs. So, for me, that actually came true.
“It was fun. I did my job and we came out with a `W.’ I was pumped. I let out a little expletive. It was a really cool moment.”
“That was a big run heading into the ninth inning,” Marmol said. ” … Tacking on that run was very important.”
Freeman capped a 4 for 5 night with a lead off homer in the ninth.
“We came back and gave ourselves a chance to win that game,” Freeman said. “Sometimes you have to tip your cap. We gave them a little scare there at the end of the game.”
Jordan Hicks started, serving as the opener, and threw 38 pitches in the 1 2/3 innings. It was Hicks’ eighth start this year and his first since May 24, when he went four innings in a loss to the Blue Jays.
White (1-2) took the loss. He pitched five innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs.
“For him to give us five innings was still beneficial,” Roberts said. “We had a chance to win. Unfortunately we just came up short.”
ALL STAR NUMBERS
The were eight members of the NL All-Star team in Tuesday’s game. The four Cardinals are Paul Goldschmidt, Arenado, Pujols and Ryan Helsley. The four Dodgers are Trea Turner, Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin.
Knizner made his 45th start at catcher this season. It’s the most by a Cardinals player in a season, other than Yadier Molina, since Gold Glove winner Mike Matheny (110 in 2004).
FACE IN THE CROWD
Sitting in the first row by the Cardinals dugout, rapper Nelly watched the game. The three-time Grammy award winner got loud applause when he was shown on the videoboard. After the fifth inning, Nelly hosted a trivia contest that had a fan name his three most famous songs in an imitation of the Family Feud.
Dodgers: LHP Andrew Heaney (left shoulder inflammation) pitched a simulated game Tuesday at Busch Stadium. He threw two innings. Heaney’s next rehab outing will be Saturday for Single A Rancho Cucamonga. He will pitch three or four innings.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina (inflamed right knee) will report to an unspecified rehab assignment toward the end of this month. He is expected to return in early August. Molina turns 40 on Wednesday. He missed 25 games since June 16. Molina is hitting .213 with two home runs and 10 RBI.
Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin (11-0, 1.62) leads the majors in ERA. He is 1-0 in two starts against the Cardinals. This will be his second start at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (6-7, 3.15) will make his 18th career appearance (15th start) against the Dodgers. St. Louis is 11-5 in those games. He has pitched six or more innings in his last 13 regular season starts (11 quality) against the Dodgers. He has won his last three home starts against the Dodgers dating back to 2017.