ST. LOUIS - Even after surrendering the lead in the eighth inning, the Arizona Diamondbacks had two more chances to take control. Then, they finally cracked.
Shortstop Chris Owings threw wildly to the plate on a bases-loaded grounder in the 12th inning, allowing Matt Holliday to score the winning run in the St. Louis Cardinals' 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.
"We haven't been able to get the big hit when we need it," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "They made the plays that ended up beating us."
The Cardinals cut down the go-ahead run at the plate in the 10th on Daniel Descalso's relay throw from down the left field line to nail speedy Ender Inciarte trying to score from first on Paul Goldschmidt's two-out double.
"They had to make two perfect throws," Inciarte said. "We had to risk it. We haven't been scoring many runs in this series and we had to try something."
Inciarte singled with two outs in the top of the 12th and probably would have scored if centre fielder Jon Jay wasn't able to track down Gerardo Parra's drive to the warning track.
"We had a great chance in the 12th, but Jay made a great play," Gibson said.
Holliday walked off Trevor Cahill (1-6) to start the 12th. Matt Adams doubled and Yadier Molina was walked intentionally. Owings fielded Allen Craig's bouncer and had plenty of time for a force play of the plate but his throw eluded catcher Miguel Montero.
"Holliday was running and the ball was hit in the hole a little bit," Owings said. "I had to make a good throw. I didn't."
Seth Maness (2-2) allowed a hit in the 12th for the Cardinals, who persevered long after Michael Wacha was chased early by a foul ball lined off his pitching elbow while sitting in the dugout.
Jason Motte worked 1 2-3 scoreless innings in his first appearance since the 2012 post-season. He got help from Holliday, Descalso and Molina on that nifty relay.
The Cardinals left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th against rookie Evan Marshall, who worked two scoreless innings.
"It was really exciting out there," Marshall said. "It was good to put up a couple of zeroes."
Wacha allowed two hits in six scoreless innings and made two outstanding defensive plays before Adams' liner forced an early exit after 88 pitches. The team said Wacha, the NLCS MVP last fall, had a bruise and was removed for precautionary reasons.
Parra's two-run homer off Carlos Martinez put the Diamondbacks up 2-1 in the eighth, their first runs in 17 innings in the series after Adam Wainwright's one-hitter Tuesday. Pinch-hitter Jon Jay's sacrifice fly off Brad Ziegler tied it in the bottom half.
Wacha snared Martin Prado's liner right back at him on instincts, throwing his glove up on the follow-through. He foiled a squeeze attempt by Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy later in the fifth, gloving the bunt in front of the plate and shovelling the ball to Molina at the plate in time to catch Cody Ross.
The Diamondbacks unsuccessfully challenged, lobbying for an obstruction call at the plate.
Martinez gave up the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in a loss to Atlanta on Sunday and has surrendered seven runs in 7 2-3 innings his last nine outings. Ziegler was scored upon for just the second time in his last 23 appearances.
The Cardinals won a challenge and perhaps saved a run in the second when Montero was ruled out attempting to steal with one out. The next batter, Prado, singled.
Molina had two hits, giving him 14 the first eight games of a nine-game home stand.
NOTES: Rock 'n roll Hall of Famer Chuck Berry, 87 and a St. Louis resident, threw out the first pitch. ... Lance Lynn (5-2, 3.67) faces Wade Miley (3-4, 4.94) to end a nine-game home stand. Lynn is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA against Arizona and 20-8 lifetime at home. Miley is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in five road starts this year. ... Opponents are 8 for 19 attempting to steal against Molina. ... In Wacha's 10 starts, he's allowed two or fewer runs six times. ... Cardinals SS Jhonny Peralta, 1 for 21 against McCarthy, did not start. ... Arizona 2B Aaron Hill returned after missing three games with shoulder soreness and was 0 for 5.
© Coast Reporter