It didn't come easily, though, as right-hander Ryan Franklin, the Cardinals' new closer, had to withstand a one hour, five minute rain delay before finally closing out the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth. Play was stopped with one out and a 3-2 count on center fielder Matt Kemp, whom Franklin walked.
Before he nailed down his third save, Franklin walked another hitter and threw a wild pitch but then he fanned pinch hitter Andruw Jones to end the game.
Manager Tony La Russa had two pitchers warming up in the ninth when it appeared Franklin was laboring, but he stuck with Franklin.
Right fielder Ryan Ludwick continued his blistering hitting, homering to account for both Cardinals runs and adding two singles. He has a league-high nine home runs for May and 13 overall. He has five homers in his last six games.
"I don't think I'm in a zone," he said. "I'm just going up there trying to get a pitch to hit and hit it hard."
Wainwright, who worked seven innings, giving up just one run, had difficulty with his location early in the game but settled down. "The more I went, the better I felt," he said. "Now the trick is to get that feeling from the first inning on."
The right-hander's curveball was breaking as well as it had all season. "I had a good one," he said. "When you've got that going, you can do some cool things."
CARDINALS 2, DODGERS 1: They had to survive a rare ninth-inning rain delay Friday in Los Angeles, but the Cardinals ensured they will have at least a .500 trip. They won their third of four games on this six-game swing, making Ryan Ludwick's two-run homer in the third inning stand up for Adam Wainwright's fourth win but his first since April 26. Ludwick had three of the six hits.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--LHP Mark Mulder will begin throwing again Monday in Florida as he makes his latest comeback try from a couple of shoulder surgeries.
--RHP Chris Carpenter, recovering from "Tommy John" surgery, will throw to hitters on Monday in Florida and RHP Matt Clement, who had shoulder surgery nearly two years ago, is pitching in extended spring training games in Florida. None of the pitchers is expected to be with the Cardinals until the All-Star break or later.
--OF Skip Schumaker couldn't crack the starting lineup Friday despite having four hits and a walk on Wednesday. Schumaker, however, singled in a reserve role in the eighth inning.
--2B Adam Kennedy batted leadoff on the strength of his 11-for-25 career showing against Los Angeles RHP Derek Lowe. But Kennedy went 0 for 5 and is hitless in his last 17 at-bats.
--Besides RHP Ryan Franklin, who earned the save, LHP Ron Villone and rookie RHP Chris Perez combined on a scoreless eighth. Together, the trio ran the Cardinals' string of spotless innings on this trip to 11 1/3 innings and 12 1/3 overall. Ironically, this dates to the time when RHP Jason Isringhausen, the defrocked closer, went on the disabled list.