Kenley Jansen had waited 11 days for this moment, slogging through an excruciating stint on the disabled list because of a heart issue while his fellow relievers stumbled without him. His much-heralded return on Monday night was not what he or the Dodgers envisioned.
The closer took over in the ninth inning of a tie game and gave up home runs to the first two batters he faced, Jedd Gyorko driving a shot to left-center and Matt Carpenter hitting his National League-leading 34th homer to center to lift the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-3 victory before 42,404 in Dodger Stadium.
Jansen struck out two of the next four batters, but the damage was done. Closer Bud Norris threw a scoreless ninth for his 25th save, striking out Max Muncy during an 11-pitch at-bat for the first out, to help the Cardinals win for the 11th time in 13 games. The Dodgers fell 2½ games behind National League West co-leaders Colorado and Arizona.
The Dodgers had rallied from a 3-0 deficit with two runs in the fifth inning and one in the seventh, Muncy slapping a 103-mph full-count fastball from 21-year-old right-hander Jordan Hicks to left field for a pinch-hit, two-out RBI single that tied the score 3-3.
Kenta Maeda struck out four in two scoreless relief innings, and the Dodgers threatened in the bottom of the eighth when Yasiel Puig beat out a dribbler to the left side for an infield single.
After Brian Dozier struck out, Puig took second and third on a Hicks wild pitch that bounced straight into the air and to the backstop. Hicks struck out Justin Turner with a slider and, after Manny Machado was intentionally walked, left-hander Brett Cecil struck out Cody Bellinger to end the inning.
Dodgers starter Alex Wood was punished for a first-inning mistake, the left-hander grooving an 88-mph fastball to Jose Martinez, who lined a solo home run—his 15th of the season—into the left-field pavilion for a 1-0 Cardinals lead.
Wood escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fourth when he struck out opposing pitcher Austin Gomber with a sharp curve. He was pulled in the fifth after Carpenter’s leadoff double, Martinez’s RBI single that pushed St. Louis’ lead to 2-0 and Paul DeJong’s walk.
Reliever J.T. Chargois got ahead of Marcell Ozuna with two swinging strikes before throwing four straight balls to load the bases with no outs. The right-hander was pulled because of neck discomfort. Right-hander Pedro Baez came in to inherit the mess.
Baez started Patrick Wisdom with two strikes. Then he threw four straight balls for a walk that forced home Martinez for a 3-0 lead. Baez kept the deficit at three by striking out Harrison Bader, getting Kolten Wong to pop out to first and striking out Francisco Pena looking at a 98-mph fastball.
Bellinger followed with a sacrifice fly to left that pulled the Dodgers to within 3-2, Machado taking second when Ozuna’s throw home missed the cutoff man. Kemp struck out, and Hernandez shot a grounder past the mound that appeared headed to center field.
But DeJong, the Cardinals shortstop, smothered the ball with a diving stop and, from one knee, made a one-hop throw to first base in time to get Hernandez, ending the inning and preventing the tying run from scoring.
To make room for Jansen, the Dodgers placed left-hander Zac Rosscup on the disabled list because of a left calf strain. Rosscup threw nine strikes while retiring the side in order—the 93rd “immaculate inning” in baseball history—in Sunday’s 12-1 victory at Seattle.
“I’ve never done that before,” said Rosscup, who struck out Kyle Seager, Ryon Healy and Cameron Maybin swinging. “I had a three-pitch inning once in rookie ball, but it didn’t count because the game got rained out in the fourth inning.”
X-rays on the left wrist of Machado, which was struck by an 86-mph fastball from infielder-turned-pitcher Andrew Romine on Sunday, were negative, and Machado started at shortstop Monday night. He was hit by a pitch in the first inning. …
Julio Urias, nearly 14 months into his recovery from shoulder surgery, is scheduled to throw two or three innings for double-A Tulsa on Tuesday, the fifth minor league rehabilitation stint for a left-hander who could factor in the bullpen in September. …
Cardinals veteran Yadier Molina had his streak of 27 consecutive starts behind the plate, a major league record for a catcher age 35 or older, snapped Monday.