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Cardinals beat Dodgers 5-2 with 3-run 12th

Los Angeles Dodgers' Andre Ethier, right, watches his ball go out for a two-run home run along with St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright during the third inning of their baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers' Andre Ethier, right, watches his ball go out for a two-run home run along with St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright during the third inning of their baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Los Angeles. Photo by The Associated Press.

LOS ANGELES — Jon Jay hit a go-ahead RBI double during a three-run 12th inning and the St. Louis Cardinals split of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, beating them 5-2 on Sunday and regaining undisputed possession of the second NL wild card spot.

John Ely (0-2) issued a leadoff walk to Matt Carpenter and Jay drove him on from second base with a line drive into the right field corner on an 0-2 pitch. Jay scored on an infield hit up the middle by Allen Craig and Yadier Molina walked with the bases loaded.

Rookie Shelby Miller (1-0) pitched one inning for his first major league victory.

Jason Motte got three outs for his 35th save in 42 chances after giving up the tying and winning runs in Saturday night’s 4-3 loss.

Both teams have 15 games remaining to settle the wild card situation. The Dodgers embark on a nine-game road trip against East-leading Washington, Central-leading Cincinnati and San Diego before ending the regular season with a six-game homestand against Colorado and West-leading San Francisco. The Cardinals’ next nine games are against the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs, who are a combined 81 games under .500 and 69 1/2 games out of first place.

The Dodgers won six of the 11 meetings with St. Louis, and have beaten the Cardinals in back-to-back season series for the first time since 1995-96. In case of a tie for the wild card, the Dodgers would get home-field advantage in a one-game playoff.

Los Angeles wasted a leadoff double in the sixth by Matt Kemp, and last season’s MVP runner-up flied out to center field against Fernando Salas with the bases loaded to end the 10th after the right-hander intentionally walked Andre Ethier.

Ethier tied the score 2-all in the third with his 19th homer, getting the barrel of the bat on a 2-0 pitch that was low and inside and driving it into the pavilion seats in right-center with two out after a leadoff walk to Matt Treanor.

Right-hander Stephen Fife, making his fourth big league start and first since Aug. 1 in place of injured Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, recorded his first six outs on strikeouts. But in-between the first and second ones, the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead as Craig hit an RBI double and Matt Holliday scored on a wild pitch to Molina.

Molina walked, then stole second while David Freese swung at a third strike. Treanor, making his first start behind the plate since Sept. 2, got out of his crouch and headed for the dugout, thinking it was the third out before realizing his mistake. Fife’s 31-pitch inning finally ended on a called third strike that had Skip Schumaker fuming at umpire Dana DeMuth.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had a heated argument with first base ump Doug Eddings in the bottom of the inning after Craig made a backhanded stop on a smash down the line by Ethier and tossed to Wainwright covering the bag. But Eddings ruled that the ball landed foul before ending up in Craig’s glove, and replays appeared to back him up.

Fife threw 88 pitches over five innings, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out nine — two more than he had in his other three outings combined.

NOTES: Kershaw is scheduled to see a hip specialist Tuesday in New York before rejoining the club in Washington. ... Jay, the Cardinals’ CF and leadoff batter, struck out his first three times up and was 1 for 6. He finished the seven-game road trip 4-for-32 with two RBI. ... Treanor drew a walk all three times up. ... The Cardinals have had only six pitchers start a game for them to this point, tying Cincinnati and San Francisco for the fewest in the majors.

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