Luis Cruz hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning to give the Dodgers… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
It was looking all too familiar. The Dodgers trailing late by a run, dreams of a postseason bid slipping just a little further away, the offense just not quite doing enough.
And then, finally, came the big blast. Not delivered by a highly paid outfielder or big-name midseason acquisition, but a player who has spent most of the last 11 seasons in the minors or playing in Mexico.
Luis Cruz, the unexpected hero, delivered a three-run homer in the sixth inning and the Dodgers went on to a badly needed 8-5 victory over the Cardinals before an announced crowd of 40,167 at Dodger Stadium.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak, pulled the Dodgers back to within one game of the Cards for the National League’s second wild-card berth and replenished their playoff hopes.
The Dodgers looked headed for another tough one-run loss after five innings, the Cardinals using home runs off Chris Capuano by Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday to build a 4-3 lead.
The Dodgers had scored one in the second on an Adrian Gonzalez double and a pair of groundouts, and two more on Andre Ethier’s 18th home run of the season in the third.
Yet entering the bottom of the sixth, St. Louis was still on top and the Dodgers were looking uninspired.
But after Ethier singled and then the next two Dodgers went down, reliever Trevor Rosenthal hit Hanley Ramirez with a pitch to bring up Cruz.
The Cardinals then called on right-hander Edward Mujica to face Cruz. His first pitch was hammered into the left-field seats for a three-run homer. It was the fifth home run of the year for Cruz.
Gonzalez added a two-run double in the seventh.
The eight runs by the Dodgers equaled their total from their previous eight games.
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