The ending to the Cardinals' 14-inning, 3-2 win over the Dodgers on Thursday was all too predictable.
With one out and the score tied, Albert Pujols was facing Los Angeles left-hander Odalis Perez, against whom Pujols was 9-for-14 with four homers and 11 RBIs during regular-season play, not counting a home run in the 2004 divisional series. Pujols hit his 30th homer of the season and the seventh game-ender in his career when he blasted a 421-foot homer off Perez. It was Pujols' second walk-off homer of the season.
The victory, the Cardinals' fourth consecutive overall, marked their third straight extra-inning victory, the most they had since June 1-3, 1988, when they also won three extra-inning games in a row.
Until Pujols' homer, the Cardinals had scored only on Jim Edmonds' two-run homer off Giovanni Carrara in the seventh.
REPLAY: The Cardinals shot themselves in the foot by leaving the bases loaded three times in the first five innings of Thursday's 3-2, 14-inning win over the Dodgers. But Jason Marquis and five relievers held the Dodgers scoreless over the last 11 innings.
Adam Wainwright had the most testing challenge in relief. After the Dodgers got runners to first and third and with nobody out in the 10th, Wainwright retired Rafael Furcal on a liner to a leaping second baseman Aaron Miles and then fanned both Olmedo Saenz and Nomar Garciaparra.
--RHP Jason Marquis, whose 5.55 ERA belied his 11-6 mark, pitched one of his best games of the season but got nothing. Marquis allowed just a two-run homer by Dodgers 1B Nomar Garciaparra in the third while pitching eight innings. It was the National League-leading 21st homer allowed by Marquis.
--The game was the third consecutive extra-inning fray for the Cardinals. They won the first two, in 10 innings and in 12 innings, last weekend in Houston.
--RHP Jeff Weaver, acquired from the Angels before the All-Star break, will make his first Cardinals start Monday against Atlanta. Thus, he will not start this weekend against the Dodgers, for whom he played the previous two seasons. He did, however, pinch-hit in the 13th inning Thursday. Weaver struck out. --OF Larry Bigbie, recovering from surgery to repair an umbilical hernia, has started a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Quad Cities. --LHP Mark Mulder, recovering from a left shoulder impingement, may begin throwing off a mound by the time the club's seven-game homestand ends. --RF Juan Encarnacion sat out the start with a left wrist injury suffered before the All-Star break. He came in for defense in extra innings but went 0-for-1 with a walk, extending his hitless streak to 12 at-bats.