Heyward's arm helps keep Cards within reach

Heyward's arm helps keep Cards within reach

LOS ANGELES -- Jason Heyward's eight-game hitting streak may have come to an end on Sunday, but the throw he made to keep the Dodgers from extending their lead in the sixth inning proved critical in the Cardinals' eventual 4-2 win.

Heyward charged quickly on Jimmy Rollins' ground-ball single to right and fired a low throw toward home, where catcher Tony Cruz waited. With Andre Ethier, who had been on second after a walk and stolen base, coming down the line, Cruz gloved the throw and lunged at Ethier. He made the tag before Ethier could get his hand to the plate.

"That's what you try to do in those situations, get behind it as best as you can," said Heyward, who has four assists on the season. "I come in and make the best throw possible, and after that, let the rest take care of itself."

"As soon as the ball was hit and I saw it was hit to Jason, I know he has a strong arm and we had a chance," added Cruz. "I was trying to do whatever I could, with the game being close, to [make the play]."

The defensive contribution helped bail out reliever Mitch Harris, who had been instructed to pitch around Rollins, the eight-hole hitter, with the pitcher's spot due up next.

"That wasn't the pitch we were looking for right there in a tough situation," manager Mike Matheny said.

Bourjos' catch seals the win

The game then ended on another stellar defensive play in the outfield, this time by Peter Bourjos, who entered the game as an eighth-inning pinch-runner and remained in to improve the team's defense. Bourjos ran down Rollins' deep line drive to right-center to prevent the Dodgers from being able to send the potential tying run to the plate against closer Trevor Rosenthal.

"I couldn't believe he covered that distance down," Matheny said. "He's in the other gap. He covered a lot of ground to get there. That's pretty impressive."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.