Adam Wainwright tossed eight dominant innings, but Matt Holliday dropped a fly ball in the ninth and Ryan Franklin yielded a walk-off hit.
With the Cardinals just one out away from victory, left fielder Holliday dropped a short fly ball that would have ended the game. The Dodgers followed with a two-out rally for the come-from-behind win.
2 -- The Cardinals scored just two runs on Thursday but looked like they were going to escape thanks to Wainwright's gem. However, their continuing struggles with runners in scoring position came back to haunt them in the decisive ninth inning. Game balls
With the Cardinals facing a near must-win situation, Wainwright put the team on his back and did everything he could to carry them to victory. The righty went eight innings, allowing just one run on three hits and striking out seven as he dominated the powerful Dodgers lineup.
Holliday's solo homer in the second inning put the Cardinals up, 1-0, but his costly error in the ninth opened the door for the Dodgers' comeback.
The rookie broke a 1-1 tie with a long RBI double in the seventh, giving the Cardinals a go-ahead run. The only thing keeping Rasmus from earning five game balls was his poor baserunning, when he was thrown out trying to reach third after the throw home was cut off.
Sense of October
With the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth, Wainwright got Matt Kemp on slow roller to first to end the jam and keep the Cardinals' lead at one. All of Dodger Stadium was on its feet waving white rally towels, but Wainwright again showed his toughness by getting Kemp on his 109th pitch of the game.
4 AB, 2 H, 1 SB
Comment: Some questioned why Lugo was inserted into the starting lineup after Skip Schumaker had a productive day in Game 1. But Lugo made manager Tony La Russa look liked a genius, going 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a highlight-reel defensive play up the middle at second base.
8 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 SO's
Comment: Wainwright gave the Cardinals just what they needed, a dominating pitching performance to put them in position to even the series. The Cardinals only scored two runs, but Wainwright made it stick -- allowing just a solo homer to Andre Ethier in the fourth.
The Cardinals were one out away from evening the series at one game apiece when the Dodgers stunned the Cardinals with two ninth-inning runs. Now the Cardinals will need to win three straight games, starting Saturday at Busch Stadium, with Joel Pineiro on the mound.
B.J. Rains is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less