On they roll, defying most logic and whatever team in their path. The Dodgers are baseball’s current road warriors, a fact they were happy to demonstrate to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Dodgers won their 15th consecutive road game Monday, edging the Cardinals, 3-2, at Busch Stadium behind the pitching and hitting of Zack Greinke and the hitting and defense of Nick Punto.
Different games with different heroes, with the same results. The Dodgers are now 32-7 in their last 39 games.
Good numbers were everywhere once again for the Dodgers, who have now won their last 10 consecutive games decided by one run. They are 15-2 since the All-Star break. They pushed their lead in the National League West to a season-high six games over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Greinke (9-3) has been sharper, but he went 6 1/3 innings to hold the Cardinals to two runs and eight hits and a walk, earning his 100th career victory. He gave up solo runs in the first and seventh innings but pitched out of trouble in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
He got a huge assist in the fifth, however, when the Dodgers turned a remarkable relay to nail Allen Craig at the plate. Craig was at first with a single when David Freese lined a double into deep right-center field.
Craig was waved home, but Yasiel Puig – back in the lineup after missing one game with a sore left hand – fielded the ball on a bounce off the wall and fired back to the infield.
He fired too far, overthrowing the cut-off man, second baseman Mark Ellis. But Punto, starting at shortstop for the injured Hanley Ramirez, played behind Ellis and off to the right -- as if he knew Puig was going to unleash his hardest throw.
Punto caught the ball on the fly, and in one motion fired an absolute bullet to catcher A.J. Ellis, who applied the tag in time to nail Craig. Punto also went into the hole in the eighth to turn a double play.
The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead with a pair of runs in the fourth off Adam Wainwright. Adrian Gonzalez led off with a walk and was doubled to third by Puig. Andre Ethier singled to score Gonzalez and A.J. Ellis’ groundout scored Puig.
The Dodgers added what would prove to be the winning run in the top of the seventh after Punto doubled with two outs. Greinke, who is batting .405 (15 for 37) on the season, singled off Wainwright to score Punto.
Closer Kenley Jansen had appeared in three of the last four games, so Manager Don Mattingly let Paco Rodriguez pitch the final two innings to earn his second save. He retired all six Cardinals he faced.
During the Dodgers’ 15-0 road streak, the pitching staff has a combined 2.40 earned-run average. The Cardinals, who entered the game with baseball’s best average with runners in scoring position (.339), were just one for nine in that area Monday.