ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright had something to prove.
Wainwright pitched two-hit ball over six innings for his first win in five months, Marcell Ozuna homered and the St. Louis Cardinals salvaged the finale of a four-game series with a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night.
“You know what? Us old guys can still play, can’t we? A little bit,” the 37-year-old Wainwright said. “The main thing for me tonight was to do what I did in my entire rehab performances. It was all about executing, making my pitches. That’s probably the deepest lineup I’ve ever faced.”
The Cardinals snapped a season-high four-game losing streak and moved into a tie for the second National League wild card with the Dodgers, who slipped a half-game behind Colorado for the NL West lead.
The Rockies visit Dodger Stadium for a three-game series beginning Monday night, the last regular-season meeting between the teams.
Wainwright (2-3), making his second start since missing almost four months with right elbow inflammation, struck out a season-high nine while earning his first victory since April 16. His 101 pitches were his most since July 22, 2017.
“We just had to come out and win today,” Wainwright said. “That team over there was riding some pretty good highs. They came in and just whooped us for three straight games and we really needed a big win before going to Atlanta.”
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt had complete confidence in Wainwright pitching a game with playoff implications.
“Clearly there’s some significance there,” Shildt said. “But that’s what guys like Adam Wainwright do. They step up. That’s what horses do and that’s what aces do and that’s what he’s been for a long time in this organization. He stepped up and it’s hard to beat a shutout.”
Cardinals reliever Bud Norris left the game with a blister on his middle finger after walking the only batter he faced in the seventh. Jordan Hicks, pitching for the first time in a week, finished the inning and also worked the eighth. Carlos Martinez completed the four-hit shutout — one night after the Dodgers piled up 17 runs.
“I thought that Wainwright was really good tonight,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “When any pitcher can throw his breaking ball at any point in time to get us — we are a fastball hitting team — he was doing it. He was spiking it and it had good bite and the fastball in on the lefty and the curveball off of that.”
Ozuna homered to right-center to make it 1-0 in the second.
Yairo Munoz sparked a two-run fourth, reaching first on a wild pitch after swinging and missing at strike three. Jedd Gyorko and Yadier Molina followed with RBI singles, chasing Dodgers starter Ross Stripling and giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.
Ozuna singled and scored on third baseman Justin Turner’s fielding error in the sixth. Ozuna has a team-high 44 multihit games.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play and the last couple of games I was struggling at the plate and I made some adjustments in batting practice and that led to success today in the game,” Ozuna said.
Molina had a pair of singles and drove in another run in the eighth.
Stripling (8-4) retired nine of his first 10 batters before running into trouble in the fourth. He went 3 1/3 innings, matching his shortest start of the season last Wednesday at Cincinnati.
“I felt that I threw the ball better today than I did in Cincinnati,” Stripling said. “The Ozuna homer was really a good pitch down and away, just kind of tip your cap on that one. I think the dropped third strike kind of changes the dynamic of the fourth and then three singles later, I kind of had some bad breaking balls and that was it.”
Dodgers: LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder strain) and RHP John Axford (broken right leg) will be activated Monday.
Cardinals: Norris was removed after throwing just seven pitches.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-3, 2.42 ERA) starts Monday against Colorado RHP Jon Gray (11-7, 4.80). Ryu is 3-6 with a 5.77 ERA in nine career starts vs. the Rockies.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (15-4, 2.99 ERA) gets the opener of a three-game series in Atlanta against Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz (11-9, 2.66 ERA) on Monday night. In his last outing, Mikolas became the first pitcher to win 15 games in his first season with St. Louis since Mark Mulder in 2005.