"First of all, it was a good game by Mike Leake," said Molina, whose hit was his eighth in 24 career at-bats against Joe Blanton. "I'm just happy to come through and be part of that game. We really needed it."
While a Corey Seager home run in the eighth, his second of the game, forced the Cardinals to turn to Trevor Rosenthal for the save, the Dodgers were unable to muster any more offense.
Before the dramatics, Alex Wood and Leake both turned in solid starts, each allowing one run on a solo homer across six innings The outing from Wood lowered his career Dodger Stadium ERA to 1.95, the lowest by a starting pitcher in team history.
"I thought we attacked pretty well," Wood said. "Me and [catcher Yasmani Grandal] were on the same page and are really starting to get in motion together. I thought I had all three [pitches] early."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Chess moves: When Dodgers manager Dave Roberts brought in Blanton to face Eric Fryer with a runner in scoring position and two out in the seventh, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny countered by sending up the left-handed-hitting Brandon Moss to pinch-hit. The Dodgers opted to intentionally walk Moss and take their chances with Molina, who was ready in the on-deck circle as another pinch-hitter. The move backfired, and Molina drove home the go-ahead run. Two batters later, Stephen Piscotty stung the Dodgers with an RBI hit after another intentional walk.
"I wasn't sure what they were going to do with Moss, thinking they might walk him," Matheny said. "But [I was] still feeling pretty good that Yadi has had quite a few at-bats against him. Yadi came through and had a huge hit. He did a great job of staying ready on a day we were trying to give him off."
Cardinals 5, Seager 2: Seager registered the first multi-homer game of his young career with solo shots in the third and eighth innings, the only runs of the night for the Dodgers. The first was an opposite-field shot to left and the second a 409-foot no-doubter to right. With his home run Saturday, he also recorded his first career back-to-back games with home runs.
"Corey is learning the league. I think that he's been a little more patient and just getting good pitches to hit," Roberts said. "It's really good to see, and if we get everybody else around him going, we'll be fine."
Dandy defense: Though the Cardinals made six errors in the series, they made a pair of top-notch defensive plays to keep the Dodgers from taking a fourth-inning lead. Randal Grichuk leapt into the center-field wall to snare a drive by Yasiel Puig with two aboard and one out. Matt Holliday, making his first start at first base since April 15, then knocked down a sharp ground ball by Joc Pederson and flipped it to Leake for the inning's final out.
"Those are probably game changers," Leake said of the two plays. "That could have changed the pace of the game, for sure."
Faith in Wood rewarded: Wood ran into trouble in the sixth inning when a walk and hit-by-pitch gave the Cardinals two runners on with none out in a tie game. After a mound visit during a Cardinals challenge and with Louis Coleman warming, Roberts opted to keep Wood in to face the middle of the Cardinals' order. Two ground balls, one a double play from Holliday, rewarded that faith and kept the game tied.
"I don't know if I said please or not. I might have," Wood said. "He just asked me if I could get a ground ball and I said yeah."
"[Holliday], in tribute to the Blues, made a nice kick save over at first. He's done that a couple times where he'll sacrifice his body. He's going to continue to get opportunities." -- Matheny, on Holliday's performance at first base on a night when the St. Louis Blues won the opening game of their Western Conference Final
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
After a 2-2 curveball from Wood to Piscotty landed in the dirt, Piscotty started walking to first base as he had felt the ball hit his foot. Home-plate umpire Tom Hallion initially called it as ball 3, but a challenge from the Cardinals quickly overturned the ruling and gave Piscotty the bag.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: Following Monday's off-day, the Cardinals will open a nine-game homestand with a three-game series against the Rockies. Lefty Jaime Garcia will draw the start in Tuesday's 7:15 p.m. CT game against Colorado's Chad Bettis.
Dodgers:Kenta Maeda doesn't have to worry about Noah Syndergaard anymore, but one guy named Mike Trout could give him trouble as he makes his Freeway Series debut Monday against the Angels. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT at Dodger Stadium.