In an evening decided by the finer points of execution the Los Angeles Dodgers foiled the Cardinals with a pinpoint throw for an out at home plate that was both precise in its timing and exact in its game-changing accuracy.
The Cardinals by contrast were undone by inexact bunts.

Dodgers righty Zack Greinke proved a difference on the mound and provided the difference at the plate as LA won its 15th consecutive road game 3-2 on Monday night at Busch Stadium.

The game hinged however on fundamental exchanges. It wasn’t just that the Cardinals pushed by sending Allen Craig home for the potential tying run in the fifth inning but that it took Yasiel Puig and Nick Punto combining on a sharp relay to get Craig at the plate as he tried to score on David Freese’s double. It wasn’t just that Greinke drove home the eventual deciding run on a first-pitch curve from Adam Wainwright but that Punto had doubled on a misplaced cut fastball one pitch earlier.

It wasn’t that the Cardinals couldn’t convert the series of offensive chances they had against Greinke but that two bunts late in the game – both of which manager Mike Matheny declined to discuss when asked – unplugged potential rallies.

“We make plays to try and capitalize when we can” Matheny said. “A lot of things could have happened differently for us. A lot of little things could have happened right could have changed the game. They didn’t.”

The Cardinals flush from their offensive jubilee in Cincinnati and 44 runs in their previous four games lost for the ninth time in their past 12 games. They slipped to 4-15 in games against winning clubs when two runs or fewer decide the outcome. It’s those kind of games when the little things loom.

Wainwright (13-7) allowed three runs on seven hits through his seven innings and Greinke (9-3) countered with 6 1/3 innings during which he allowed two runs on eight hits. Greinke had the only two-out RBI in the game and it decided his win because he kept the Cardinals from doing the same.