Consecutive victories have the Los Angeles Dodgers in position to take over sole possession of the second wild card position in the National League from the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, they will be without their ace Clayton Kershaw on Sunday afternoon in a big finale of a four-game series with the Cardinals after scratching the former Cy Young winner due to right hip inflammation.
Kershaw had his most recent start pushed back two days due to the same issue, but he didn't show any lingering effects after giving up only one unearned run over seven innings of a 1-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The left-hander, though, was unable to throw his bullpen session on Thursday and was shut down early on Friday while trying to play catch.
According to manager Don Mattingly, Kershaw will next travel to New York to see a specialist. However, there remains a strong chance that Kershaw may not pitch again this season.
That would be a big blow to the Dodgers' playoff chances, though they did move into a tie with the Cardinals for the second extra playoff position with Saturday's 4-3 victory. The two clubs have identical 76-70 records and lead the Pittsburgh Pirates by two games in the standings.
Los Angeles rallied to win its second straight, getting a game-tying double with two outs from Luis Cruz, who plated Andre Ethier with his hit.
Elian Herrera then came out to run for Cruz and he raced home with the winning run when Juan Rivera's pinch-hit chip shot off Jason Motte just tipped off the club of a leaping Daniel Descalso at second.
"I have to be ready every inning," said Rivera. "Every two innings I take swing in our undercover batting cage. He threw me a cutter, middle-away. I thought he caught it. This is exciting."
Mark Ellis hit a solo homer and Adrian Gonzalez drove in a run for the Dodgers, who have won the past two games of this series after dropping four in a row.
"It's a playoff atmosphere here tonight," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "Some great things happened here and it was such a fun time. We're getting everything these guys have in them right now."
Allen Craig hit a two-run home run and drove in the other run with a single for the Cardinals, who had won four in a row over the Dodgers when they won Thursday's opener. However, they have lost eight of their past 10 overall.
Jamie Garcia gave up just two runs -- one earned -- on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts in six innings.
"He had a good outing and his sinker was there all night," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny about Garcia. "But to lose like this, no one is happy about it."
Without Kershaw, Mattingly will turn to 25-year-old Stephen Fife, who makes just his fourth career start and first since Aug. 1.
Fife made his MLB debut on July 17 and is 0-1 with a 2.16 earned run average, allowing four runs in 16 2/3 innings. The righty did lose his last start at the beginning of August, yielding two runs over 4 1/3 innings versus the Arizona Diamondbacks while walking three to give him nine in his three starts.
Adam Wainwright goes for the Cardinals hoping to avoid a fourth straight setback.
The 31-year-old was brilliant through most of August, winning his first five starts of the month while allowing a mere six runs in that span.
However, he ended the month with a loss and his losing streak was extended to three in a row thanks to a loss on Tuesday at the San Diego Padres. Wainwright gave up five runs -- two earned -- on five hits and four walks over six innings of that one.
The righty is 13-13 on the year with a 4.01 ERA in 29 starts, including a win over the Dodgers on July 24. Wainwright allowed a pair of runs over 7 1/3 innings, striking out seven and improving to 4-3 lifetime against the Dodgers with a 3.02 ERA.