Things are really going bad when you can no longer count on the few things you could count on before.
The Cardinals, with a chance to really put some serious distance between themselves and the Dodgers Friday night, called in reliever Eduard Mujica to protect a one-run lead in the sixth inning with two outs and two runners on base. And the first pitch from Mujica, who has been a major settling force for the St. Louis bullpen since arriving in trade from the Marlins, was belted into the Los Angeles night for a three-run homer.
The shot led the Dodgers to an 8-5 win and cut the Cardinals lead in the wildcard race to one game over LA when shortly before it looked like it would stretch to three.
The Cardinals had built a three-run lead earlier in the game on home runs by Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter. But the Birds once again couldn't get a decent start from their rotation. Joe Kelly could only manage 4 2/3 innings with three runs allowed.
The Cardinals really need to win the next two games in this four-game set if they are serious about getting into the playoffs. And that's not going to be easy since Jaime Garcia has been road kill away from Busch Stadium.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Molina was 2-for-3 with a homer and he picked off a Dodgers runner at first base, the 42nd time in his career that he eliminated a baserunner who wasn't actually trying to steal. The next closest active major leaguer, Yadi's brother, has 23 pickoffs.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Holliday's two-run blast.
Lowlight: It was the first time in nine games the Dodgers were able to score more than three runs in a contest.