Earlier this season on May 19, Kershaw dazzled against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium, blanking St. Louis for his fourth career shutout. But it was Wainwright's turn to shine on Tuesday as he went 7 1/3 innings for his first win since July 4 and helped snap the Cardinals' eight-game losing streak to the Dodgers.
"The bat really wasn't as expected, but he pitched a great game," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You can see when he's locked in and when he has everything working, he gets that fire. He's had that most of the time, but he had the stuff to go with it."
The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the fourth as Wainwright issued a one-out walk to Andre Ethier, and the Dodgers collected three straight hits, capped by an RBI single by Luis Cruz.
Wainwright said he'd briefly lost focus against Juan Rivera, who hit an RBI double before Cruz, and that lapse led to a pitch out over the plate that the Dodgers left fielder drove down the right-field line.
"That was kind of a wake-up call there," Wainwright said. "I knew if I kept it right there, even against a great pitcher, our offense would give us a chance."
Wainwright didn't allow a runner past second base after that inning.
Kershaw's day was done after giving up seven hits over 5 2/3 innings. He was tagged for eight earned runs -- the most he's allowed since giving up nine runs against the Rockies on April 29, 2009.
St. Louis tied the game at two in the fifth, plating a pair of runs with two outs. Daniel Descalso singled back up the middle, and Wainwright collected his first double and first RBI of the season to cut Los Angeles' lead to one. Rafael Furcal singled to shallow center to score Wainwright and tie the game at 2.
St. Louis sent 10 men to the plate in a six-run sixth, including a bases-loaded walk by Wainwright.
"With a guy like me out there you've got to make your pitch," Wainwright, who owns a .103 batting average this season, said jokingly. "I've been working really hard in between games with our pitchers ... a lot of times actually what you do at the plate makes a difference in a win and a loss."
"Any time you can get two RBIs from your pitcher, two good at-bats, that's a bonus," Descalso said. "He was making his pitches and having good at-bats. Can't ask for anything more."
Matt Holliday opened the sixth with a walk and Carlos Beltran followed with a double. David Freese then gave the Cardinals a 3-2 lead with an RBI single.
Then with two outs and men on second and third, Kershaw intentionally walked Descalso to get to Wainwright. After Wainwright's walk put the Cardinals ahead, 4-2, another two-out single by Furcal scored two and sent Kershaw packing. Allen Craig then doubled on Josh Lindblom's first pitch to plate two more runs.
Clutch at-bats have been eluding the Cardinals this month -- evidenced in a 5-3 loss to Los Angeles on Monday. But St. Louis was 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday and consistently hit Kershaw hard when it needed to in order to get its first win against the Dodgers this season.
"We have great hitters. If we keep putting guys out there, guys are eventually going to get hits. They came through tonight," said Lance Berkman, who exited the game in the third inning after taking a pitch from Kershaw off his right knee.
"Yesterday, [Chad Billingsley] pitched a pretty good game against us. We didn't have many chances. But that game notwithstanding, I think the last four or five efforts have been pretty good. That's what I expected to see. You're not going to go a whole year and hold a team down that has as many good hitters as we do."