Photo is credited to Getty Images.
This weekend, the Cardinals hosted the Braves for a three-game series at Busch Stadium, the clubs’ final meeting of the 2016 season.
Prior to Friday’s series opener, the Cardinals activated infielder Matt Carpenter off the 15-day disabled list and optioned left-handed reliever Dean Kiekhefer to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.
Game One: Cardinals 1, Braves 0 — WP: Jaime Garcia (8-8) LP; Joel De La Cruz (0-4) SV: Seung Hwan Oh (9)
With an eight-inning gem and the lone run batted in, Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia led his team over the Braves on Friday night, 1-0, snapping his personal funk on the pitching front.
Garcia’s shutout performance was his first outing since May that he did not surrender an earned run in and only his second start of the season that reached the eight-inning plateau. As for his run-scoring single, it was only his sixth hit and fourth RBI of the season.
Joel De La Cruz started the game for the Braves and turned out to be the tough-luck loser come game’s end. De La Cruz allowed one run on two hits in his five innings of work for Atlanta, a team that’s starting rotation has had its fair share of bumps throughout the course of the season.
The Braves, though held off the run column, tallied more hits — three — than the Cardinals — two — on Friday. Atlanta had one runner reach third base on the evening and a total of three baserunners for the game.
Game Two: Braves 13, Cardinals 5 — WP: Roberto Hernandez (1-0) LP: Carlos Martinez (10-7)
The Braves clubbed a season-high four home runs in Saturday evening’s contest to lift their way over the Cardinals in their 13-5 rout at Busch Stadium in the middle game of the teams’ three-game series.
Outfielders Matt Kemp and Ender Inciarte and corner infielders Freddie Freeman and Adonis Garcia accounted for the Braves’ four homers on Saturday. Freeman and Garcia each teed off on Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez — who had served up nine home runs in 128.1 innings entering Saturday — deep for three-run homers within the first five innings of the game and combined to go 5-for-7 with a double, two homers, and six RBIs. Kemp and Inciarte recorded their homers off Jonathan Broxton as part of a six-run ninth inning for the Braves.
Atlanta entered Saturday’s contest with a collective total of 66 home runs. For context, that means the Braves average about a little over one home run in every other game or roughly four long balls each week.
For the Braves on the pitching front, they went with 35-year-old Roberto Hernandez, who was fresh off a promotion from the minors and making his first major-league start of the season. Hernandez gave the Braves five solid innings, in which he allowed three runs.
Game Three: Braves 6, Cardinals 3 — WP: Mike Foltynewicz (5-5) LP: Adam Wainwright (9-6) SV: Jim Johnson (8)
After putting up a double-digit run total to best the Cardinals in the second game of the three-game series, the Braves plated six runs off Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright to take the series finale, 6-3, making Atlanta’s poor offensive statistics take a backseat, at least for Sunday afternoon.
With thirteen runs on Saturday, the Braves scored nineteen runs in two games off of some of the Cardinals’ most reliable pitchers of the season thus far, such as Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, and Jonathan Broxton.
The Braves scored three of their runs in the first and the other three in the second off the shaky Wainwright, who happened to record the first couple of outs fairly quickly. With two down in the first, five consecutive Braves batters reached base, four on base hits, including a two-RBI single off the bat of Nick Markakis.
In continuation of their first-inning trend, five straight Atlanta batters took a spot on the bases, and three came around to score, building a lead that would not buckle throughout the afternoon.
Mike Foltynewicz gave the Braves six innings of one-run ball that preceded work from Ian Krol, Madison Younginer, Eric O’Flaherty, and Jim Johnson, who combined to limit the Cardinals to two runs on three hits in the final innings of the ballgame.
Braves: The Braves will continue their roadtrip with a stop at Miller Park in Milwaukee for a four-game series with the Brewers.
Cardinals: Beginning on Monday evening, the Cardinals will play host to the Reds for a three-game series.