ST. LOUIS -- Apparently, the Los Angeles Dodgers were not keen on the concept of their mound opponent enjoying a successful major league debut.
Pounding St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Mike Mayers for nine runs on eight hits in 1 1/3 innings Sunday night, Los Angeles established a 9-1 lead and then held on for a 9-6 win at sultry Busch Stadium.
Mayers, whose contract was purchased earlier Sunday from Triple-A Memphis, was starting because St. Louis (52-46) needed a spot starter after a Tuesday night rainout forced a makeup doubleheader on Wednesday.
It went about as badly as possible. Mayers allowed six runs in the first and three more in the second, becoming only the second MLB pitcher to allow nine earned runs and not last through two innings since ERA became an official stat in 1913.
Dodgers left-hander Scott Kazmir turned all that support into his ninth win against three losses, lasting five innings on a night where the heat index at game time was 108 degrees. Kazmir gave up six hits and three runs, walking none and fanning three.
The Cardinals made the game competitive with three runs in the seventh off reliever Adam Liberatore, snapping his string of 28 straight appearances without yielding a run. Stephen Piscotty's two-run double down the left-field line chopped the deficit to three runs.
It forced Los Angeles to bring closer Kenley Jansen on in the ninth, and he recorded the last three outs for his 29th save.
The Dodgers (56-44) upped their lead on Miami for the National League's first wild-card spot to two games. St. Louis remains a game behind the Marlins for wild-card number two.
Mayers was welcomed rudely to his major league debut as Los Angeles hit him for six runs in the top of the first.
Adrian Gonzalez walloped a grand slam to center, his ninth homer of the year and the fifth slam of his career, and Kazmir helped his cause with a two-run single up the middle.
A throwing error after Gonzalez's second-inning single enabled Justin Turner to score from first, and Kendrick made up for his misplay with a two-run homer to right-center, his sixth. That ended Mayers' night.
St. Louis cut its deficit to 9-3 in its half of the second on a two-run homer by Tommy Pham, his sixth. It marked the 15th straight game in which the Cardinals have homered.
NOTES: By calling up RHP Mike Mayers from Triple-A Memphis to start Sunday night, St. Louis became the last major league team to use a sixth starting pitcher. Mayers, 24, was a combined 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA over 18 starts in Double-A and Triple-A this year. ... The Cardinals optioned RHP Miguel Socolovich to Memphis to clear a roster spot for Mayers. Socolovich appeared in two games with St. Louis, allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings. ... Los Angeles RF Yasiel Puig (right hamstring tightness) didn't start for a third consecutive game. He was replaced by Andrew Toles. Manager Dave Roberts said there is a chance Puig could end up on the disabled list.