Braves sweep Cardinals 6-0 and 2-0 as Miller stops skid
ATLANTA (AP) The St. Louis Cardinals enter the postseason with 100 wins – and a 27-inning scoreless streak for their batters.
Matt Wisler pitched four-hit ball over 8 2/3 innings, and the Atlanta Braves beat St. Louis 2-0 Sunday to complete a doubleheader sweep.
St. Louis was held to seven hits in the doubleheader, which included a 6-0 loss to Shelby Miller in the first game that ended Miller’s 24-start winless streak. The Braves won 4-0 Friday.
”We hate to lose every game,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
St. Louis, which won its third straight NL Central title, opens the Division Series at home Friday against the Chicago Cubs or Pittsburgh.
Matheny tried to give certain starters rest. He also was wary of a wet field following a weekend of rain at Turner Field.
”We tried to make sure we did everything we could to get guys rest, to get guys off the soggy field,” Matheny said, adding he tried to ”eliminate injury.”
Added Matheny: ”Once again, it doesn’t matter to me who you put out there, I want to put some runs together.”
Jason Heyward, who sat out the second game after having one hit in two at-bats in the opener, said the conditions made him ”cranky.”
”I don’t necessarily like a series or situation like that,” Heyward said. ”I’m kind of geared toward one mindset, to win and to be playing for something.”
Wisler (8-8) won each of his last three starts, allowing a combined three runs.
Pinch-hitter Brandon Moss doubled with one out in the ninth to become the Cardinals’ first runner in scoring position off Wisler. Jon Jay hit a groundout to first, Tommy Pham walked and Edwin Jackson struck out Randal Grichuk to end the game.
Hector Olivera’s single drove in Michael Bourn in the first off Lance Lynn (12-11), who allowed one run and seven hits in five innings.
Miller held his former Cardinals teammates to three hits through eight innings.
”As a team, we haven’t been this excited in a long time,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Miller’s drought was the longest in the majors since Chris Volstad’s 24-game streak from July 17, 2011 to Aug. 19, 2012. It was the longest streak by a Braves starting pitcher since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966.
”You don’t expect to go out there and finish that well,” Miller said, adding he couldn’t avoid talk of his streak.
Miller (6-17) struck out seven and walked three. He had been 0-16 since winning at Miami on May 17 despite a 3.83 ERA in that span. He finished with a 3.02 ERA, best among Atlanta starters, and topped 200 innings for the first time.
John Lackey (13-10) allowed three runs over four innings in a postseason tuneup.
A GOOD 100
St. Louis (100-62) had its first 100-win season since 2005, when the Cardinals finished 100-62.
LESS IMPRESSIVE 100
The Braves finished last in the majors in homers. Adonis Garcia hit two homers and Andrelton Simmons added a two-run drive in the first game, giving Atlanta 100.
Atlanta finished with 67 wins, under 70 wins in a full season for the first time since 1990, when it was 65-97. The Braves were 68-46 in the strike-shortened 1994 season. The attendance of 31,441 left the season total at 2,001,391, allowing the Braves to barely avoid finishing below 2 million for the first time since 1990. The 2014 total was 2,354,305.
Cardinals: RF Stephen Piscotty was 0 for 4 in the first game in his return to the lineup six days after he sustained a concussion in an outfield collision with teammate Peter Bourjos.
Braves: C Ryan Lavarnway started both games because of injuries to catchers Christian Bethancourt (thumb) and A.J. Pierzynski (knee shin). Despite his injury, Pierzynski emerged from the center-field wall during the tool mascot race between the fifth and sixth innings of the second game. He leveled the paint brush and hammer characters with body blocks. Seeing this, the smallest character, ”Phil the bucket,” turned around and ran back to the start line in the right-field tunnel.