The St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night survived another episode of Questionable Decision Theatre to beat the Los Angles Dodgers by the thinnest of margins, 3-2.
Starting pitcher Lance Lynn allowed two hits through six innings of work but was pushing the 100 pitch mark when he was due to hit second in the bottom of the inning thanks to working from behind most of the night, which included four walks for the evening.
But manager Mike Matheny decided to let Lynn hit with one out, despite having a well-rested bullpen following the All-Star Game break. And the big righty returned to the mound for the top of the seventh, instantly getting himself into a bunch of trouble.
He gave up a lead-off double to Juan Uribe. Then, with two strikes, he gave up a double to A.J. Ellis to go from pitching a shutout with a three-run lead to having the tying run at the plate in a blink.
With the game already in jeopardy, Matheny finally brought in Seth Maness who got a groundout that allowed Ellis to go to third. Then he uncorked a wild pitch and a run crossed the plate to make the score 3-2.
Matheny brought in Pat Neshek in the 8th. After retiring Hanley Ramirez, lefty Adrian Gonzalez came to the dish. Matheny passed on the opportunity to go to warmed up southpaw Sam Freeman and Gonzalez singled. Matt Kemp walked to put two Dodgers on the bases with one out and, bringing up lefty Andre Ethier. Still Freeman idled in the pen. But Neshek was able to get a strikeout and pop out to end the threat.
The Cardinals got all the offense they would need from left fielder Matt Holliday who pounded the ball all night. He hit three clotheslines, one for a double, one for a two-run homer and one right at an outfielder for an out. He drove in all three Redbirds runs and seemed that he might be on to something at the plate.
Kolten Wong collected to hits and scored two runs while Jon Jay had two hits and a stolen base.
The win pushed the Cardinals to nine games over .500 and allowed them to keep pace with the Milwaukee Brewers who beat the Washington Nationals to stay one game ahead. The Cincinnati Reds fell 1 1/2 games behind the Birds with a loss to the New York Yankees Friday night.