After having their streak of National League West titles snapped at eight, the Los Angeles Dodgers are facing the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Game, with the winner advancing to play the San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers easily clinched the top Wild Card spot, so they will host the game at Dodger Stadium. The Cardinals won a franchise-record 17 straight games in September to earn a playoff spot after they entered the final month as more of an afterthought.
The two teams faced each other seven times this season and the Dodgers won four of the games, outscoring the Cardinals 42-20 in their two head-to-head series.
May 31-June 2: Dodgers win series with record setting performance
The first series they played was at Dodger Stadium, with L.A. setting the tone early in a 9-4 win.
The offense was led by Gavin Lux, who hit two home runs, one off Daniel Ponce De Leon, who was later designated for assignment, and one off Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty, who spent most of the season on the injured list.
The Dodgers used four pitchers that game but three of them are no longer on the active roster: Trevor Bauer, Victor Gonzalez and Nate Jones. Phil Bickford recorded the final three outs.
The Cardinals got their revenge in the second game of the series, picking up a 3-2 win in a bullpen game for the Dodgers.
David Price started and allowed two runs in 1.2 innings, but the Cardinals took the lead off a rare blemish from Blake Treinen, who got four outs but allowed the winning run in the ninth inning.
L.A.’s offense was shut down by John Gant, who threw six innings while allowing no runs, but they were able to tie the game in the seventh off Giovanny Gallegos.
In the final game of the series, the Dodgers’ offense broke out in a 14-3 win.
Carlos Martinez started for St. Louis but failed to escape the first inning as he allowed 10 runs while only recording two outs. The Dodgers scored 11 runs in the first inning, capped off by a grand slam from Cody Bellinger, who had six RBI in the inning.
Walker Buehler pitched six innings while allowing three runs.
Sept. 6-9: Pujols returns as teams split series
The Dodgers traveled to St. Louis at the beginning of September and the story of the series was Albert Pujols returning to face his former team.
Pujols did not start the first game, but the Dodgers were carried by Max Scherzer, who pitched eight innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 win.
Chris Taylor hit his 20th homer of the season and drove in two while Corey Seager and Mookie Betts also drove in a run.
The Dodgers also took the second game of the series in a 7-2 win and the scoring was opened by Pujols, who hit a first-inning homer off J.A. Happ.
Justin Turner added two homers of his own while Will Smith connected for his 23rd long ball of the season.
L.A. went with a bullpen game as nine relievers combined to allow just two runs.
In the third game, the Cardinals scored four runs off Dodgers’ starter Mitch White, with three coming in the first inning, and another run in the eighth off Shane Greene.
Cardinals’ starter Adam Wainwright pitched eight innings while allowing only two runs before going out for the ninth where he allowed another two runs.
Gallegos picked up the save by getting the final two outs in a 5-4 Dodgers loss.
St. Louis earned a split by notching a 2-1 victory but still ended the season series trailing by one game.
Both teams had more of a bullpen game, with Tony Gonsolin throwing three innings while allowing one run for L.A. and Jake Woodford throwing four innings while allowing one for the Cardinals. The teams combined to use 11 pitchers, with six of them from the Dodgers.
Tyler O’Neil hit a solo home run in the fifth while the game was tied at 1-1, and that was all the scoring for the rest of the game.
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