ST. LOUIS -- One night after letting a plethora of scoring chances go untapped, the Dodgers capitalized against Mike Leake early on Saturday and then coasted to a 7-2 victory over the Cardinals. The win kept the Dodgers ahead of the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race and halted St. Louis' winning streak at five.
The Dodgers recovered from an exhausting, 16-inning loss quickly enough to even the three-game series at Busch Stadium. All nine players in L.A.'s starting lineup had at least one hit off Leake, who allowed a career-high 12 over his six innings. Five of those came in the third, when the Dodgers utilized three infield hits to generate some momentum before Justin Turner punctuated the four-run frame with a two-run double.
"It was huge," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Those guys over there, they fight. [It's] a very well coached ballclub. So for J.T. to get a ball elevated and use the opposite-field gap was a big hit."
Los Angeles added another three runs in the sixth, which opened with an Adrian Gonzalez homer. A misplay by first baseman Matt Adams on a cutoff throw compounded the inning, just as the Cardinals' inability to get an out on a squeeze play had back in the third. In both instances, the Dodgers turned an extra out into an extra run.
"We have been pretty clear that we brought him in, knowing the kind of player he was going to be," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He was going to be a pitcher who was going to try to get contact early in the count and use his defense to make plays behind him. It just seems like it gets magnified when one play goes a little sour, and that seems to add up a lot of runs on him."
The Dodgers had as many hits with runners in scoring position (five) as the Cardinals had all night off unfamiliar starter Kenta Maeda. Though Maeda fell one out shy of his 12th start of six or more innings, he limited the Cardinals to a pair of runs en route to winning his ninth decision.
Roberts thought Maeda hit a wall in the sixth inning due to the heat.
"It was bad for me, so I can only imagine how bad it was for the players," Roberts said. "After the 16-inning affair, just the guys, the focus, the competing every pitch, it was there tonight. It was a great team effort."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Squeezed out: Kenta Maeda had gone 18 at-bats and 11 starts without an RBI until the third inning. He laid down a safety-squeeze bunt with no outs and runners at first and third, but ended up with a hit and an RBI after a miscommunication from the Cardinals left nobody covering first base. Maeda later scored on a double from Justin Turner for his first run since he homered in his Major League debut.
"It's not getting an out," Leake said, "but it's still my job to get us out of that jam."
Big City blast: Adams homered on consecutive days for the first time this year when he took Maeda deep with a leadoff blast in the fifth. Adams, who ended the first half on an offensive skid, was the walk-off hero with a homer in the 16th inning on Friday night. He has now hit safely in six of his last seven games and seven of his last eight hits have been for extra bases.
"It was a 3-2 count and I pitched it to a place where Adams could really hit well," Maeda said.
A-Gon, road warrior: Adrian Gonzalez has now reached base safely in 17 of his last 18 games at Busch Stadium after homering to lead off the sixth inning. He has nine runs, three home runs, and nine RBIs in St. Louis since Aug. 15, 2009.
"It's exactly what we needed, and the guys responded," Roberts said. "It was as scripted as we could possibly go."
Needed relief: The Cardinals' bullpen extended its scoreless-innings streak to 10 with another three on Saturday. Trevor Rosenthal and Miguel Socolovich, the only Cardinals' relievers not to pitch in Friday's 16-inning marathon, covered the rest of the game behind Leake to allow the rest of the 'pen a night to catch its collective breath.
"Rosey was good," Matheny said. "He still had a lot of misses high in the zone, but he's also getting swing and misses, so it almost baits him into staying up in the zone. Soco, we needed him to come in and throw a couple innings for us. He did a nice job, actually, locating his pitches, especially his fastball."
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: The Dodgers finish their series with the Cardinals at 5 p.m. PT on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Scott Kazmir, who went 8 2/3 innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits against St. Louis on May 14, will get the start for Los Angeles.
Cardinals: For the first time this season, the Cardinals will summon a starter from the Minors for Sunday's series finale at Busch Stadium. Right-hander Mike Mayers draws the assignment after going 8-5 with a 3.29 ERA in 18 starts split between Double-A and Triple-A this year. The game will be on ESPN at 7 p.m. CT.