Rookie Walker Buehler allowed two hits in eight innings, Yasiel Puig homered twice and the Los Angeles Dodgers drew even with the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL wild-card race with a 3-0 victory on Friday night.
Buehler (7-5) pitched beyond the seventh inning for the first time and earned his first victory since Aug. 17. He retired the first 13 batters before Paul DeJong singled to left field. Harrison Bader singled later in the fifth for the Cardinals' only other hit.
"For the most part pretty solid," said a modest Buehler of his start and the moment overall. "It’s a big game."
Buehler struck out nine and walked two. In two career starts against St. Louis, he has not allowed a run and has 18 strikeouts in 15 innings.
"This was probably the best pitching performance of the year," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Buehler. "Obviously with whats at stake right now, he wanted this moment...just domination. He did what he wanted to do tonight. It was really fun to see him rise to this occasion."
The Dodgers and Cardinals are tied for the second NL wild-card position, four games behind Milwaukee for the top spot. Los Angeles entered 1½ games behind first-place Colorado in the NL West.
Puig homered in the second off Jack Flaherty (8-7) and connected again in the ninth off Tyler Webb. It was his second multi-homer game of the season.
In the seventh, Cody Bellinger scored on a passed ball by Yadier Molina.
Kenley Jansen hit Yairo Munoz with a pitch to open the ninth but retired the next three batters to finish the two-hitter, earning his 35th save in 39 opportunities.
Flaherty worked six innings, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. He has 168 strikeouts this season, the fourth-best total for a rookie in franchise history.
Dodgers: Relievers John Axford and Tony Cingrani were scheduled to pitch in the California Championship Series for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday night. "They're stacking the deck, trying to help them make their playoff push," manager Dave Roberts joked. "They're supposed to go an inning each. We'll see how they come out of it. Our hope is to get these guys back." Axford could return to the majors after one appearance, while Cingrani (shoulder) would likely need more rehab work.
CARDINALS: IF Jedd Gyorko is likely to return to the starting lineup tomorrow, manager Mike Shildt said. He drew a pinch-hit walk in the 8th inning and was replaced by pinch-runner Adolis Garcia.
The Cardinals send right-hander John Gant (7-5, 3.16 ERA) to the mound Saturday afternoon to make his third career appearance and first start against Los Angeles. Veteran lefty Rich Hill (8-5, 3.88) starts for the Dodgers.