Two of baseball’s brightest young arms took the mound Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, and neither Walker Buehler or Jack Flaherty disappointed. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the end result was a 3-1 loss, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a three-game series sweep.
Buehler began his night by retiring the first six batters faced, including four by strikeout. His perfect game was lost on a leadoff walk in the third inning, and the no-hitter went on the next batter as Yairo Munoz singled to right field.
Harrison Bader went first to third on the play, where he was stranded as Buehler ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. He finished the night with a career-high nine strikeouts over seven shutout innings.
Great as he was, Buehler’s effort was matched by Flaherty. A Burbank, Calif., native who grew up attending games at Dodger Stadium, the right-hander didn’t allow a hit until Joc Pederson’s solo home run in the bottom of the seventh.
Up to that point the Dodgers only mustered two baserunners. Flaherty walked Manny Machado with two outs in the first inning but otherwise struck out the side. He retired 12 in a row before walking Yasmani Grandal with two outs in the fifth.
Pederson’s blast broke up Flaherty’s no-hitter and the scoreless tie. Flaherty turned in six innings, allowing just the one run and besting Buehler by notching 10 strikeouts. He exited in line to take the loss but was later picked up by Tyler O’Neill.
He lifted a sinker from Scott Alexander over the fence in right-center field for a game-tying solo home run. Although the Dodgers bullpen has shouldered the brunt of the blame for the team’s recent struggles, Alexanders’ pitch was in a good location and simply a matter of quality hitting by O’Neill.
The same could not be said for Kenley Jansen, who left an elevated cutter with little movement over the heart of the plate, which Paul DeJong hit for a game-winning two-run home run in the ninth. It marked the third home run Jansen allowed in 1.1 innings since returning from the disabled list.
Of their last eight losses, Wednesday’s marked the seventh in which the opponent took the lead or won in their final at-bat. Moreover, the Dodgers fell to 4.5 games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West standings.