Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Rick Ankiel's two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning was the difference, as the St. Louis Cardinals edged the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-2, in the opener of a three-game series at Chavez Ravine.
Albert Pujols also homered for the Cardinals, who have won nine of their last 10 games. Chris Carpenter (13-3) gave up two runs on five hits and struck out eight over eight innings to collect the win, his fifth straight.
Casey Blake and James Loney each drove in a run for the Dodgers, who have dropped four of five. Charlie Haeger (0-1), making just his second major league start and his 2009 debut, absorbed the loss despite yielding just three runs on five hits in seven innings.
Los Angeles had the bases loaded and one out in the first. Blake picked up an RBI with a fly ball to right field. Andre Ethier, though, was gunned down at third on a strong throw by right fielder Ryan Ludwick to end the inning.
Pujols' MLB-best 39th home run of the season, a leadoff smash to the left- field bleachers, tied the game in the fourth.
Carpenter retired 10 batters in a row before Matt Kemp doubled to lead off the fifth. Loney then hit a bouncer through the right side of the infield to give the Dodgers the lead.
St. Louis pulled ahead in the seventh when Haeger hit Ludwick with a pitch and Ankiel blasted an offering to the seats in right.
Trever Miller recorded the first out in the ninth, then Ryan Franklin closed the door to notch his NL-leading 30th save of the season.