Maeda delivered a go-ahead, two-run single, and Chase Utley homered as the Dodgers wiped out a three-run deficit to defeat the Cardinals 7-3 on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.
Maeda (4-2) gave up three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks in five innings as the Dodgers (28-20) took two of three in the series.
"It was a little hard getting into the game with the long layoff, but I was able to make the adjustments, and it was a good hit," said Maeda, who had been on the disabled list since May 11 due to left hamstring tightness. "I think overall it was a good game for me."
Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, in his first relief appearance, also made a valuable contribution, striking out two and allowing two hits in four scoreless innings to earn the save.
Afterward, Roberts seemed to take glee in saying this was the Dodgers' plan all along -- using Ryu in a relief role.
"Those two guys back-to-back in a tandem situation is pretty lethal, and that's what it was tonight," Roberts said.
Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor, who went 3-for-4, had a run-scoring double in the sixth to cap the scoring.
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha (2-2) was charged with a season-high six runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks in four-plus innings. Wacha threw 100 pitches, 69 for strikes.
Wacha said his breaking ball wasn't effective and forced him to compromise his pitches.
"They did a good job battling," said Wacha, who hadn't given up six runs since the Colorado Rockies tagged him for that many on May 19, 2016. "Whenever I'd get ahead, they'd battle to get a full count. Put up good at-bats. In some of those cases, I wasn't able to finish them off."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was baffled with Wacha's performance.
"I can't really put my finger on it," Matheny said. "The solo (home run) wasn't a bad pitch. The next inning where we got to two outs, the RBI by (Yasiel) Puig was a pretty good at-bat. The next one that gets you is when the pitcher is able to score a couple of runs. That one really hurt, and he couldn't really get out of the fifth."
Catcher Yadier Molina went 2-for-4 with an RBI and extended his hitting streak to 14 games for the Cardinals (23-21), who lost for only the second time in their past 12 road games.
Jedd Gyorko, who went 2-for-4 and recorded his 13th multi-hit game, doubled home Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham with one out in the first inning for a 2-0 St. Louis lead. Gyorko advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Molina's base hit to make it 3-0.
Utley's solo shot to right in the second sliced the margin to 3-1. It was the first home run of the season for Utley.
"Just left it up in the zone a little bit," said Wacha, who hung a curveball to Maeda. "Just trying to bury it, but I ended up not doing it."
In the fifth, two wild pitches by Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil allowed Taylor, who singled and advanced to second on a walk, to score for a 5-3 advantage. Adrian Gonzalez's RBI single brought home Corey Seager for a 6-3 lead.
NOTES: Los Angeles has captured eight of its past 10 games at home to improve to 18-8 at Dodger Stadium, the second-best home mark in the National League to the Arizona Diamondbacks (21-8). ... To clear a roster spot for the return of RHP Kenta Maeda from the disabled list, the Dodgers placed CF Joc Pederson on the seven-day concussion DL. ... Los Angeles LHP Adam Liberatore was activated from the 10-day disabled list, while LHP Luis Avilan was put on the 10-day DL (retroactive to May 24) because of left triceps soreness. ... Both clubs resume play Friday in the opener of a three-game series. Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (3-3, 3.28 ERA) will face Colorado Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (6-1, 3.67) at Coors Field in Denver. Chicago Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (5-3, 4.80) will oppose Dodgers LHP Alex Wood (5-0, 1.88) at Dodger Stadium.