Braves lose 3rd straight, fall 6-2 to Cardinals
No way the Atlanta Braves will use Jason Heyward’s injury as an
excuse for their first three-game losing streak since early
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said it’s just a matter of running into a
team that’s on a roll.
”It’s throughout the lineup, and I don’t think the effect of
one guy gets to the bottom of the lineup,” Gonzalez said after the
St. Louis Cardinals beat them for the third straight time behind
strong pitching from rookie Shelby Miller in a 6-2 victory on
”We hit a lot of balls hard,” No. 5 hitter Brian McCann said.
”We just didn’t get anything going and they made good plays when
they had to.”
Heyward had been one of the Braves’ hottest hitters before
getting sidelined by a broken right jaw after being hit by a pitch.
He underwent surgery Thursday and the team has not said how long
he’ll be out, but he could miss the rest of the regular season.
Miller worked seven innings of three-hit ball and Matt Carpenter
and Carlos Beltran homered for the Cardinals.
Freddie Freeman homered for the NL East-leading Braves, who
totaled five runs while dropping three in a row for the first time
since July 3-5. Julio Teheran (10-7) allowed a season-worst five
walks and was charged with four runs.
”We’ve got to start swinging the bats, we’ve got to keep the
line moving offensively,” Gonzalez said. ”I think our pitching
will be fine.
”I really like the three guys they threw at us and hopefully we
get a chance to come back and play good baseball like we normally
Miller (12-8) worked more than six innings for the first time in
13 starts since June 1. He struck out six without walking a batter
while pitching with no more than a one-run cushion against a fellow
22-year-old right-hander. Center fielder Jon Jay made a leaping
catch at the wall to rob McCann of at least extra bases in the
”I didn’t think he was going to catch it, but I didn’t know if
I got enough to get it out,” McCann said. ”Obviously, I
The Cardinals, who began the night a game back in the NL
Central, go for a four-game sweep Sunday with Lance Lynn (13-7)
opposing Mike Minor (12-5).
St. Louis totaled three runs while getting swept in a three-game
series in Atlanta in late July and Gonzalez said the Cardinals, who
have won seven of eight overall, are playing as well now as the
Braves were then.
Pinch-hitter Shane Robinson and Carpenter opened a three-run
seventh with singles to chase Teheran and the Cardinals broke it
open against reliever Dave Carpenter with a two-run double by Matt
Holliday and an RBI single by Yadier Molina for a 5-1 lead.
Teheran struck out eight but hung sliders on both home runs.
”I knew it from the first inning, when I was warming up, that
it was going to be a hard day for me,” Teheran said. ”That was
the two mistakes I made. I didn’t try to think about it, just tried
to stay in the game.”
The Braves had three of their seven hits in the ninth, including
pinch-hitter Gerald Laird’s RBI double off Seth Maness before
Edward Mujica struck out Elliott Johnson with two on for his 34th
save in 36 chances.
The first three hits of the game were home runs. Miller struck
out the first two batters on seven pitches and the Braves’ first
contact came when Freeman hammered a 1-2 pitch for his 16th
Carpenter answered with his second career leadoff homer and 10th
overall, also on a 1-2 count, in the bottom of the first. Beltran’s
team-leading 23rd put the Cardinals ahead 2-1 in the third and he
finished with three hits, two RBIs and his second base-running
gaffe of the series.
Beltran settled for a single in the fifth after standing at the
plate for several seconds and belatedly jogging to first on a liner
down the third base line that caromed off the jut in the stands in
shallow left. Two days earlier he missed third base and had to
double back before scoring.
NOTES: Miller walked nine in 16 1-3 innings his first four
starts this month, one of them lasting just two pitches when he
took a liner off the elbow. Missouri DE Kony Ealy threw a
ceremonial first pitch. … The Cardinals have hit 21 homers in
August after totaling nine in July, although Carpenter’s 10th
overall was his first since July 10 against Houston. … The Braves
are 8-31 when scoring two or fewer runs. … Freeman is batting
.433 (13 for 30) during a seven-game hitting streak and has two
homers, eight RBIs and 12 total hits in nine career games at Busch