ST. LOUIS – Manny Machado homered and drove in three runs to back Clayton Kershaw, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series between playoff contenders.
The Dodgers snapped a five-game losing streak against the Cardinals and moved to within one game of St. Louis for the final NL wild-card spot. The Cardinals, who went 22-6 in August, lost their second straight game and fell to 5-7 in September.
Kershaw (8-5), pitching at Busch Stadium for the first time since taking the loss in Game 4 of the 2014 NL division series, struck out eight in six innings. He gave up four runs – three earned – on eight hits and two walks.
David Freese tripled on a 14-pitch at-bat against Austin Gomber to score Chris Taylor and Machado in the first. Matt Kemp followed with a single to score Freese.
Kershaw's RBI single started a four-run fourth and drove Gomber (5-1) from the game. Taylor followed with an RBI double, and Justin Turner and Machado had sacrifice flies as the Dodgers went ahead 8-1.
Machado went 3 for 4, and his solo homer in the seventh traveled 417 feet to center.
The Cardinals scored twice and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen needed 29 pitches to finish the game in a non-save situation.