For their third straight series, the Dodgers had their third game last 12 innings. But after winning against Philadelphia and New York, the Dodgers were on the wrong side of the ledger on Wednesday, with old friend Rafael Furcal delivering the fatal blow in the Cardinals' 3-2 win.
Furcal blooped a single into left field with two outs in the 12th inning, and before defensive specialist Tony Gwynn Jr. could throw out pitcher and pinch runner Joe Kelly at the plate the ball went under Gwynn's glove, ensuring the second straight loss for the Dodgers.
Hanley Ramirez scored the first run of the game in his first game as a Dodger, and he drove in the other.
Ramirez in his first at-bat as a Dodger hit the first pitch he saw directly into the hot St. Louis sky. When it came down, out of the reach of Jon Jay in center field, Ramirez had an easy triple with one out. James Loney followed with a fly ball to right field for a sacrifice fly and a 1-0 lead.
By tripling in the second inning, Ramirez became the first player with a three-bagger in his first plate appearance as a Dodger since Tyler Houston on July 26, 2002, one day shy of exactly 10 years ago, per the KCAL broadcast.
St. Louis responded with a walk and single to open their half of the second inning, putting runners at the corners, and the Cardinals tied the score at 1-1 with a ground ball double play.
Freese was more productive in his second at-bat, with a leadoff double to right field in the fifth inning. He advanced to third on a ground out, then scored on a sacrifice fly by pitcher Kyle Lohse for a 2-1 Cardinals lead.
The Dodgers put runners on third base in both the fourth and fifth innings with two outs, but a pair of balls hit to second base, by Loney and Bobby Abreu, respectively.
A double by Mark Ellis to open the sixth gave the Dodgers a runner in scoring position for a third straight inning, and two outs later Ramirez cashed him in with a ground ball single to center to tie the game at 2-2.
Aaron Harang pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just two hits. With a taxed bullpen, manager Don Mattingly tried to squeeze one more inning out of Harang, who opened the frame by walking Skip Schumaker. After Schumaker was sacrificed to second, Harang ran the count full to Rafael Furcal then threw a pitch that was called a ball to put two runners on base.
Mattingly's glare toward home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg was piercing as he removed Harang in favor of Scott Elbert, who walked the only hitter he faced to load the bases.
Ronald Belisario, who struggled to the tune of eight runs in his previous eight innings before Wednesday, gave up a first-pitch line drive off the bat of Matt Holliday, but luckily Mark Ellis was there to catch it and step on second base for a bacon-saving, inning-ending double play to preserve the tie.
Mattingly's ire reached a boiling point in the 11th, when he used another pitching change as an opportunity to give Kellogg a piece of his mind, only this time Kellogg was having none of it and ejected Mattingly from the game. Mattingly's fifth ejection of the season gave him an opportunity to really get his money's worth with an even more animated tirade that prompted support from both his son Preston and a rehabbing Todd Coffey.
Ramirez didn't see a chance in the field until the ninth inning. After successfully fielding a grounder for the second out of the frame, he muffed his second chance as Yadier Molina hit a hard ground ball off Ramirez. But luckily for the Dodgers the ball bounced right to Luis Cruz, who threw out the slow-footed catcher from the hole at shortstop.
In his Dodgers debut, left-hander Randy Choate retired all three batters he faced, including one strikeout and a pair of groundouts.
The Dodgers go for the series split on Thursday morning, with Chris Capuano starting on getaway day against Jake Westbrook for St. Louis.
Home Runs: none
WP - Fernando Salas (1-3): 2 IP, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
LP - Jamey Wright (4-3): 1 1/3 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout