Thursday: Lance Lynn allowed only one run on five hits and two walks while striking out seven over six strong innings in his return to the rotation, and the Cardinals defeated L.A. 2-1.  After Lynn, Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte shut the door, allowing just one hit over the final three innings. Allen Craig drove in the game-winning run with an RBI single in the 7th that scored pinch-hitter Shane Robinson. Skip Schumaker, Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, and Craig all had multi-hit games for the Cardinals, who went just 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

Friday: Trevor Rosenthal, Mujica, and Sam Freeman combined to surrender five runs in the sixth and seventh innings and the Cards blew a 4-1 lead en route to an 8-5 loss. The big blow was Luis Cruz’ three-run homer off of Mujica, which put the Dodgers in front for good. Molina, Matt Carpenter, and Matt Holliday all homered for the Cardinals. Molina’s solo shot gave him 66 RBIs and was also his 146th hit on the season, both career highs.

Saturday: Motte recorded his seventh blown save of the season, allowing two runs in the 9th and the Cards lost 4-3. Motte surrendered an RBI double to Cruz and then an RBI infield single to pinch hitter Juan Rivera. Only Milwaukee’s John Axford has blown more saves than Motte on the season. Jaime Garcia pitched well for the Cardinals, allowing just two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk while striking out five over six innings. Craig hit his 21st bomb of the year and drove in three for the Cards.

Where We Stand: After the first three games of the series, the Cards and Dodgers are now tied for the second wildcard spot. The Cardinals will send ace Adam Wainwright (13-13, 4.01) to the hill against Stephen Fife (0-1, 2.16), who is starting in place of the injured Clayton Kershaw in the series finale. Considering Kershaw’s status as one of the premier pitchers in baseball, as well as his impressive numbers at home and in the second half of the season, the Cards have caught a considerable break in not having to face last year’s Cy Young Award winner in perhaps the biggest game of the season to date.