Dodgers rally from six runs down late to beat Cardinals 7-6

Cody Bellinger began to sense it in the seventh inning after a two-run home run by Will Smith.

For Trea Turner, the belief set in during the top of the eighth, when the Dodgers lineup began chipping away again.

Manager Dave Roberts could tell over the entirety of the last three innings, as his lineup wore down the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen, strung together one productive at-bat after the next, and orchestrated their latest — and biggest — comeback.

And then there was Max Muncy, who even at the depths of the team’s deficit Wednesday felt as if the Dodgers never flinched.

“We don’t feel like we’re ever out of it,” he said. “Doesn’t matter what the score says.”

Indeed, at the end of the sixth inning, the Cardinals lead 6-0.

By the end of the game, the scoreboard had flipped: Dodgers 7, Cardinals 6.

“I kind of sound redundant,” Roberts said, “when I say it’s the biggest win of the year.”

It’s certainly up there for the Dodgers, who picked up their 26th comeback victory of the season to improve to 57-30 overall.

“Offensively, I just can’t say enough about the guys,” Roberts said. “We believe now that, if we keep playing like this, we’re in every game.”

Even ones that seem well out of reach.

Wednesday was perhaps their most unlikely rally, with the team bailing out Tony Gonsolin en route to its biggest come-from-behind win since August 2016.

Gonsolin gave up a career-high five earned runs in five innings against the Cardinals (48-43), shooting his ERA from an MLB-best 1.62 to 2.02.

Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, meanwhile, worked in and out of trouble early, keeping the Dodgers scoreless through five innings.

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday in St. Louis.

(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

In the sixth inning, however, the game began to shift.

Wainwright got only one out before leaving the game. And while the Dodgers didn’t score, they got an early crack at the Cardinals’ short-handed bullpen.

“I know their ’pen has been taxed,” Roberts said. “So to get to their ’pen was big.”

With two outs in the seventh, hot-hitting Freddie Freeman collected a two-out single — one of five times he reached base Wednesday, his third consecutive game getting aboard at least four times — before Smith clobbered a two-run home run to center.

The Cardinals’ lead was 6-2.

In the eighth, the Dodgers offense got going again. Bellinger singled. Muncy drew a walk, his fourth of the game. Then Mookie Betts doubled home one run before Turner drove in two more.

The Cardinals’ lead was 6-5.

After Craig Kimbrel pitched a clean bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers wasted little time in the ninth.

Justin Turner roped a double the other way to lead off. Bellinger followed with a single that failed to score pinch-runner Austin Barnes — Barnes fell down rounding third, forcing him to scamper back to the bag — but put runners at second and third with no outs.

That brought up Muncy with a chance for redemption.

In Tuesday’s loss, Muncy had popped out in a similar situation, stranding the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base. On Wednesday, he was also dropped to seventh in the batting order amid a recent slump, the lowest he has hit during his disappointing season.

“For me,” Muncy said, “it was really big to make sure to come through today.”

This time, he did, lifting a sacrifice fly to center that tied the score at 6-6.

Two batters later, Hanser Alberto produced the decisive swing: a two-out RBI single to left that gave the Dodgers a 7-6 lead that Evan Phillips protected in the bottom half of the inning for a save.

“We know who we are, we know what we’ve been doing lately,” Muncy said. “Even when it seems like it’s really bad, you just got to find a way to keep staying in the game. We’re really good at doing that.”

The Dodgers weren’t always this way.

Last month, in the midst of an extended offensive slump, Roberts challenged his team during a series in San Francisco to improve its approach and urgency at the plate, declaring “the mindset has to get back to whatever it takes to win a game.”

As he sat in his visiting office Wednesday night, raving about his team’s latest remarkable rally at the plate, it was clear everything had changed.

“It’s just really good to see 26 guys playing to win a baseball game,” Roberts said. “They’re not worrying about stats. The only stat they’re worried about is winning. And that’s apparent.”

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