ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tyler O’Neill hit a tiebreaking homer, Cardinals relievers combined for five scoreless innings, and St. Louis salvaged a split of its four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 2-1 win on Thursday.
The Cardinals climbed within three games of the San Diego Padres for the final NL wild-card spot, while the Dodgers fell 2 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants.
O’Neill’s fifth-inning drive off Phil Bickford (3-2), his 25th homer this season, barely cleared the left field wall, inching past the outstretched glove of Steven Souza Jr.
The blast made a winner out of Alex Reyes (6-8), who pitched two scoreless innings in his fifth appearance since being demoted from the closer’s role.
T.J. McFarland and Luís Garcia combined for two scoreless innings to bridge the gap to Giovanny Gallegos, who earned his sixth save with a perfect ninth.
Neither starter lasted long.
Dodgers right-hander Tony Gonsolin, who was activated before the game, threw 55 pitches in three innings in his first start since July 30. He had been sidelined with right shoulder inflammation.
Gonsolin allowed Andrew Knizner’s RBI double in the second.
Cardinals righty Jake Woodford threw 66 pitches in four innings while making his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Sept. 3. He surrendered Trea Turner’s RBI single in the third.
Thursday’s game marked what could be Albert Pujols’ final appearance as an active player at Busch Stadium. Pujols had a pinch-hit walk against McFarland Thursday after getting a pair of starts earlier in the series. He has not confirmed plans for 2022, but his continued success against lefthanded pitching has fueled talk about playing past 2021.
FOX2’s Gregg Palermo contributed information for this story