LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Matt Kemp rescued Los Angeles with a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning as the Dodgers edged St Louis 3-2 on Saturday to draw level in their National League Division Series after two games.
The Dodgers had blown a 2-0 lead in the top of the eighth, when Matt Carpenter tied the game with a two-run blast against reliever J.P. Howell.
However, Kemp breathed life back into Dodger Stadium with one swing of the bat, tying the best-of-five series 1-1 before the teams head off to St Louis for the next two contests.
“This was a must win. We needed this,” Kemp told reporters. “We told each other we were going to back (Howell) up and find a way to win. That’s what good teams do.”
Los Angeles starter Zack Greinke paved the way for the victory by tossing seven scoreless innings, striking out seven batters and also recording two hits at the plate.
The Dodgers scored twice in the third inning, and Greinke’s performance appeared to restore order after the team was shell-shocked in their series-opening 10-9 loss that came with ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
But the game turned quickly when Howell came on in the eighth, faced three St Louis batters and failed to record an out.
Brandon League took over for Howell, working the Dodgers out of trouble and earning his first career post-season win.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn went six innings and struck out eight in a no-decision.
“I thought Lance did a nice job of keeping us in that game and obviously Greinke was throwing the ball well,” said St Louis manager Mike Matheny. “(Greinke) had sharp stuff today. He had an above-average breaking ball, slider chasing off the plate.”
St Louis was attempting to earn a second straight comeback win over Los Angeles and despite falling short, they continue to be a thorn in the side of the Dodgers.
The Cardinals eliminated Los Angeles in last season’s National League Championship Series, a match-up filled with controversy and bad blood.
The teams showed they still harbor a fair bit of resentment in Game One on Friday when Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was hit by a pitch and both sides began shouting and finger pointing.
Game Three is in St Louis on Monday.
Editing by John O'Brien