LOS ANGELES (AP) — As the Los Angeles Dodgers’ oldest player, Russell Martin figures he has an extra appreciation for this club’s remarkable string of impossibly dramatic victories at Chavez Ravine.
When the veteran backup catcher got a chance to contribute to this season of walk-off wonders, he didn’t waste it.
“Let the old guys get hot too, you know?” Martin said with a grin.
Martin drove a two-run, two-out single up the middle for the Dodgers’ 10th walk-off win of the season, and Los Angeles swept the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2-1 victory Wednesday.
The 36-year-old Martin delivered after a frustrating offensive day for the Dodgers, who have won five straight despite the best efforts of Jack Flaherty. Los Angeles couldn’t score during seven brilliant innings of four-hit ball by the Cardinals starter in his hometown ballpark, but the Dodgers still came through against St. Louis’ bullpen.
Andrew Miller hit Corey Seager with a pitch with one out in the ninth, and Carlos Martinez (2-2) gave up pinch-hitter Will Smith’s single. After Martinez threw a wild pitch to move up both runners, Martin bounced a two-strike single through the middle, and Smith sprinted home with the winning run.
“You just shorten up your swing, try to touch the ball, and let destiny happen,” Martin said.
Martin hadn’t had a walk-off hit since May 2016 in Toronto, and he hadn’t delivered a walk-off hit for the Dodgers since April 2007. He’s batting .219 this season, but he still helped Los Angeles post its major league-high 77th win.
Casey Sadler (2-0) pitched the ninth for Los Angeles, which avoided its first shutout loss since May 18 with its final swing.
Los Angeles improved to 46-15 at home while hitting double digits in walk-off wins and matching the total walk-offs by last season’s pennant-winning Dodgers.
When asked if the Dodgers are just expecting to win close home games these days, manager Dave Roberts replied: “Yeah. It’s something that I think the other dugout feels it as well. … Seems like every day, someone else gets the Gatorade.”
Marcell Ozuna homered off Dodgers rookie Dustin May in the sixth inning for the Cardinals, who went 0-5 on their California road trip after scoring just two runs in three games at Dodger Stadium.
“The lack of execution in the ninth, that’s what stands out,” Cards manager Mike Shildt said. “We had a heck of a game from Jack. We executed for 8 ½ innings, but they made us pay.”
St. Louis’ clubhouse was somnolent after this game, but Flaherty saw positives.
“They’ve been the best team in baseball for a little bit now,” Flaherty said. “But we’ve played them really, really well these last two games, and we know what happened earlier in this season (a four-game Cardinals sweep in St. Louis in April). So we know we’re going to see them again. Everybody in here in confident about that. It’s something that we’re looking forward to.”
JACK IS BACK
Flaherty struck out 10 with just one walk while dominating for the second time as a pro at Dodger Stadium, where he attended his first game on his mother’s lap when he was less than a year old. In his Chavez Ravine debut as a pro last year, Flaherty threw six innings of scoreless one-hit ball for the Cards.
The right-hander was born and raised in Burbank, California, just a few miles away on the other side of historic Griffith Park. Flaherty even led Harvard-Westlake School to a state championship at Dodger Stadium six years ago by throwing a shutout and driving in the only run in a 1-0 win in the title game.
“St. Louis is home, but this is home,” Flaherty said. “This is where I grew up watching baseball, so it’s a little bit of a different vibe for me. Wherever I look, I see somebody I know. … When you’ve got family around, and you’ve got friends you consider family, and you’ve got a team like this that you consider your family, it just brings around good things.”
May threw 5 2/3 innings of five-hit ball in a strong second career start for the Dodgers, who called up the redheaded power pitcher last week. May had seven strikeouts and held his own with Flaherty, but remained winless in the big leagues.
Cardinals: Matt Carpenter left the game after getting hit in the foot by a pitch in the ninth. Shildt didn’t immediately have an update on his injury. … RHP Alex Reyes went back to St. Louis for more examination of the pain in his shoulder and pectoral muscle.
Dodgers: OF A.J. Pollock struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth after sitting out of the starting lineup for the fifth time in six games with groin soreness.
Cardinals: After a travel day home, Dakota Hudson (10-6, 3.99 ERA) looks for a bounce-back start against Chris Archer (3-8, 5.35 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Dodgers: After a day off at home, Walker Buehler (10-2, 3.22 ERA) returns Friday from his 15-strikeout complete game against San Diego to face Robbie Ray (10-7, 4.03 ERA) and the Arizona Diamondbacks.