Pham’s big day helps Cardinals beat Braves 6-4 in 14 innings
ATLANTA — After seeing the Braves leave runners in scoring position in the first three extra innings, Tommy Pham was sure the Cardinals would take advantage when their opportunity arrived.
He was the one who came through.
Pham hit two homers, including a two-run drive in the 14th inning, and St. Louis recovered after blowing a four-run lead to beat Atlanta 6-4 on Sunday and complete a three-game sweep.
Pham’s long home run in the 14th off Josh Collmenter (0-1) drove in rookie Magneuris Sierra, who reached on second baseman Jace Peterson’s fielding error.
“I was pumped,” Pham said. “I was telling everybody in the dugout, `Let’s go!’ I was joking around — `We don’t get paid for overtime.’ When Peterson made that error, it was our chance, and coincidentally I was the guy up with the opportunity. To come through and get it over with was huge.”
Recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday, Pham had a career-high four hits and drove in three runs. He also hit a homer on Friday.
Freddie Freeman’s 11th homer off Brett Cecil in the eighth tied the game, completing Atlanta’s comeback from a 4-0 deficit.
Matt Carpenter had a first-inning homer for St. Louis. He went deep in all three games during the series, giving him seven home runs this season.
Sam Tuivailala (1-0), the Cardinals’ seventh pitcher, allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. Kevin Siegrist worked the 14th for his first save.
The Braves used nine pitchers and the Cardinals eight in a game that lasted 4 hours, 6 minutes.
Atlanta loaded the bases against closer Seung Hwan Oh in the 11th but couldn’t score. With two outs, Carpenter fielded Ender Inciarte’s grounder behind first base before flipping the ball to Oh. A review confirmed the on-field call that Oh barely beat Inciarte to the bag.
“We could have won that game with that play,” Inciarte said. “It’s frustrating.”
The Cardinals escaped more trouble in the 12th when Tuivailala struck out Kurt Suzuki to end the inning with runners on second and third.
Cardinals right-hander Jonathan Broxton fanned Matt Kemp with runners on first and third to end the 10th.
“We had the right guys up there but just couldn’t get the big hit,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It happens sometimes.”
Michael Wacha allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in six innings for St. Louis.
Atlanta knuckleballer R.A. Dickey gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings. The Braves began the game ranked last in the majors with their 4.91 ERA.
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Cardinals: OF-1B Jose Martinez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a groin strain. Martinez got hurt trying to beat out a grounder Saturday night. He was sent to St. Louis for an examination to determine the severity of the injury. … CF Dexter Fowler did not start for the third straight game due to a sore shoulder. He popped out to center field as a pinch hitter in the 12th.
Braves: RHP Mauricio Cabrera was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett after being activated from the 10-day disabled list. He had been sidelined with a right elbow strain.
DEBUT FOR SIERRA
The 21-year-old Sierra started in center field after being promoted from Class A Palm Beach before the game. He was hitting .272 at Palm Beach. Sierra had a one-out single in the sixth and was picked off first by Dickey. Sierra showed his speed when he caught pinch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio’s drive to the left-center gap in the sixth.
Braves right fielder Nick Markakis made diving catches of drives hit by Yadier Molina in the fifth and Carpenter in the eighth. A disbelieving Carpenter watched the replay of the grab by Markakis in the right-center gap on the video board before returning to the dugout.
STANDING ROOM ONLY
Attendance was 40,200 for the second sellout of the series and fifth of the season at new SunTrust Park.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (1-3, 3.75 ERA) looks for his second straight victory in Monday night’s series opener at Miami.