It’s only fair that, after the three oldest Dodgers figured prominently in wins in the first two games in St. Louis, the two oldest Cardinals returned the favor on Wednesday night. Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina highlighted the Cardinals’ 5-4 win in the third game of a four-game set at Busch Stadium.
Molina, who turned 39 in July, hit a two-run home run to give St. Louis the lead in the first inning, and the 40-year-old Wainwright kept it that way, retiring 15 in a row at one point for his eighth win in his last 10 starts.
The home run by Molina capped a three-run first inning against Mitch White, who also allowed a pair of hits in the fourth inning for another run, scored by Molina.
Despite getting touched up for four runs, White did provide the length that was asked of him, one day after nine pitchers were used in a planned bullpen game. The right-hander pitched five innings, just the sixth time in 30 games since the beginning of July that a Dodgers pitcher other than Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer, or Julio Urías lasted that long.
It was the 37-year-old Scherzer who dominated the opener this series by striking out 13 in eight innings. On Tuesday, 41-year-old Albert Pujols homered in his old ballpark, and 36-year-old Justin Turner hit two long balls.
The Dodgers got three hits against Wainwright in the first inning, scoring in the opening frame for the third time in three tries in this series and for the fourth time in the last five games.
But the chance of a big inning was thwarted by an excellent play by a trio of Cardinals that can only be described in a 111-year-old lexicon:
These are the saddest of possible words:
“Bader to Sosa to Molina”
Trio of base hits, to lead the Redbirds,
Bader to Sosa to Molina.
Ruthlessly spoiling what could have been trouble,
When Corey Seager hit another double,
A play that reduced a rally to rubble
Bader to Sosa to Molina
About as perfect of a tag as you'll ever see! pic.twitter.com/VcEAYCweHi— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 8, 2021
But after Seager’s double, Wainwright retired 15 in a row. Max Muncy, who singled in the opening frame, snapped the string with a home run in the fifth to pull the Dodgers within a pair. It was Wainwright’s first home run allowed since August 1, with 50 homerless innings in between.
The Dodgers bunched three hits together in the ninth to finally chase Wainwright, including another run-scoring hit by Seager, this time a single. A sacrifice fly by Will Smith got the Dodgers to within one, but the tying run was stranded when Giovanny Gallegos struck out Chris Taylor to end the game.
Six of Wainwright’s first eight innings were 1-2-3. Wainwright has lasted at least seven innings 16 times this season, tied with Zack Wheeler for most such games in the majors.
Not bad for an old dude.
Home runs: Max Muncy (31); Yadier Molina (10)
WP — Adam Wainwright (15-7): 8⅓ IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 4 strikeouts
LP — Mitch White (1-3): 5 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 6 strikeouts
Sv — Giovanny Gallegos (5): ⅔ IP, 1 out
Tony Gonsolin is expected to be activated from the injured list to pitch three or so innings on getaway day Thursday (10:15 a.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), one of three remaining morning Pacific time starts on the schedule. Second-year right-hander Jake Woodford starts for St. Louis.