St. Louis at Atlanta

Scoreboard
St. Louis (73-65) «05021200111152
Atlanta (80-61)300000001481

Rasmus' two homers power Wainwright, Cards

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ATLANTA -- The Braves were back at home, where they've been so dominating, and had a three-run lead on Adam Wainwright after the very first inning.

It was all downhill from there for slumping Atlanta.

Postseason Chase

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of homers, Albert Pujols and Skip Schumaker also connected, and Wainwright bounced back from a shaky start to lead the Cardinals past the Braves 11-4 on Thursday night.

"To get three runs in the first off Wainwright, we had a golden opportunity to do something," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Just one of those nights.'

There's been a lot of them lately. Atlanta has lost six of eight and 10 of 17, its once commanding lead in the NL East all gone. Idle Philadelphia moved one game up, and San Francisco is taking aim at the Braves in the wild-card race.

"It's tough. But it's not slipped away yet," outfielder Nate McLouth said. "We've certainly lost ground, but we're very much in the middle of the playoff hunt. It's better, I guess to have this little swoon now than two or three weeks from now. We've rebounded well all year, and I don't see any reason why we won't now."

The Braves were looking to turn things around after a 2-4 road trip knocked them out of first. But a 3-0 lead on Wainwright (18-10) was gone in the blink of an eye.

St. Louis rocked Jair Jurrjens for five runs in the second - capped by Schumaker's two-out, two-run drive. Rasmus went 4 for 4 and drove in four runs, matching his career high in both categories.

"It's fun to play here," said Rasmus, a native of Phenix City, Ala., about a two-hour drive from Atlanta. "There were a lot of people here I hadn't seen in a long time."

The Cardinals won for just the fifth time in 16 games and moved within five games of Central-leading Cincinnati, which lost 6-5 at Colorado. San Francisco trailed the Braves by 1½ games in the wild-card race before its late game against San Diego.

Wainwright, who had lost four consecutive starts, appeared headed for an early exit in the first. The Cardinals committed two throwing errors on one play, Jason Heyward had a run-scoring single and Derrek Lee homered for the first time with the Braves, a two-run shot.

"I was disgusted with myself," Wainwright said. "I had a temper tantrum in the hallway and got over it. I needed to get mad."

The big right-hander was nearly perfect after that. He faced the minimum over the next seven innings, giving up a pair of singles to McLouth that were both erased by double plays. Wainwright came out after eighth, having fashioned an impressive seven-hit, three-run line on a night that started poorly.

"My team put me on their shoulders today," he said. "They carried me all the way. The guys scored a bunch of runs. I didn't do much."

Pujols finished off Jurrjens (7-5) in the fourth, hitting his 37th homer on an 0-2 pitch. The Atlanta starter surrendered 10 hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.

"Everything I threw was up," Jurrjens said. "They have some really good hitters on that team, and when your pitches are up it's like batting practice. It seemed like I was throwing batting practice the whole game."

Rasmus sparked the second-inning outburst with a single, led off the fifth with his first homer of the night and followed with a two-run single in the sixth as the Cardinals really poured it on. He capped his night with his 21st homer, a drive deep into the right-field seats off Kenshin Kawakami.

Heyward said the team is still confident about its chances of sending Cox into retirement with one last playoff appearance.

"We've understood all year that you lose games," the rookie said. "There are going to be spells when you go through losing streaks or losing tough games."

Notes

  • St. Louis OF Matt Holliday was ejected by plate umpire Mike DiMuro for slinging his helmet after a disputed called third strike ended the fourth.
  • LHP Trever Miller was day to day after an MRI to evaluate soreness in his left elbow. Doctors determined he has a strained forearm, and he was expected to rejoin the Cardinals.
  • Wainwright is one win away from his career high, last year's 19-8 mark.
  • The Braves failed to win their 50th home game of the season. Their record at Turner Field slipped to 49-20, still the best in the majors.
  • Heyward struck himself on the knee with his bat while grounding out in the fifth. He was then replaced in a double switch, but said his knee was fine. Cox said it was merely a chance to give the rookie some time off with the Braves trailing 8-3.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Colby Rasmus carries the Cardinals offense, going 4 for 4 with two homers and four RBI.  (AP)
Colby Rasmus carries the Cardinals offense, going 4 for 4 with two homers and four RBI. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

C. Rasmus
AB 4
R 3
H 4
HR 2
RBI 4
St. Louis

A. Wainwright
IP 8.0
H 7
ER 3
BB 0
K 7
 

Related Video

December 1, 2014
Boomer & Carton: Football coming to LA? (2:58)
December 28, 2014
Panthers at Falcons highlights
(0:49)
December 26, 2014
Fantasy Update: Devonta Freeman
(0:40)
December 28, 2014
Raiders at Broncos highlights
(0:44)
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Skip Schumaker, 2B5232010 .274
Randy Winn, RF-LF4111010 .247
Albert Pujols, 1B4121100 .312
Matt Holliday, LF3010010 .302
    Jon Jay, RF2000013 .319
Colby Rasmus, CF4344100 .276
Yadier Molina, C5110015 .255
Pedro Feliz, 3B5111003 .221
Adam Wainwright, P4000035 .171
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
Brendan Ryan, SS4222000 .218
Totals4011151128  
Batting
2B - Randy Winn (7, Proctor), Matt Holliday (40, Jurrjens)
HR - Skip Schumaker (5, Jurrjens), Albert Pujols (37, Jurrjens), Colby Rasmus 2 (21, Cr. Martinez, Kawakami)
SF - Randy Winn (3)
RBI - Skip Schumaker 2 (39), Randy Winn (24), Albert Pujols (99), Colby Rasmus 4 (59), Pedro Feliz (37), Brendan Ryan 2 (29)
2-OUT RBI - Skip Schumaker 2 (12), Albert Pujols (39), Colby Rasmus 2 (20), Brendan Ryan 2 (13)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Feliz-Schumaker-Pujols, Ryan-Schumaker-Pujols
E - Albert Pujols (4, Throwing), Brendan Ryan (15, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Adam Wainwright (W,18-10) 8733071 2.38
Fernando Salas 1111110 1.99
WP - Fernando Salas (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 105-69, Fernando Salas 22-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 11-4, Fernando Salas 1-1
Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 29, Fernando Salas 5
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Omar Infante, 2B4110002 .341
Jason Heyward, RF3111000 .286
    Scott Proctor, P0000000 .000
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
    Kyle Farnsworth, P0000000 .000
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
   a- Freddie Freeman, PH-1B1000010 .100
Martin Prado, 3B4110000 .314
Brian McCann, C3000021 .275
    David Ross, C0000100 .281
Derrek Lee, 1B3112010 .252
    Kenshin Kawakami, P0000000 .125
   b- Troy Glaus, PH1000002 .241
Eric Hinske, LF4011020 .249
Alex Gonzalez, SS3010010 .262
    Diory Hernandez, SS1000011 .111
Melky Cabrera, CF-RF3000002 .260
Jair Jurrjens, P1000000 .105
    Cristhian Martinez, P0000000 .000
   c- Nate McLouth, PH-CF2020000 .178
Totals3348418  
a-struck out for Kimbrel in the 8th
b-fouled out for Kawakami in the 9th
c-singled for Cr. Martinez in the 5th
Batting
HR - Derrek Lee (17, Wainwright)
RBI - Jason Heyward (66), Derrek Lee 2 (67), Eric Hinske (47)
2-OUT RBI - Derrek Lee 2 (25)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Melky Cabrera 1
DP - Cabrera-Lee-A. Gonzalez
E - Brian McCann (11, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jair Jurrjens (L,7-5) 3.21077122 4.53
Cristhian Martinez 1.1111021 3.97
Scott Proctor 0.1222100 8.10
Eric O'Flaherty 0.2100010 2.43
Kyle Farnsworth 1000010 3.12
Craig Kimbrel 1000020 0.87
Kenshin Kawakami 1111001 5.15
IBB - Rasmus by Jair Jurrjens, Pujols by Scott Proctor
Pitches-Strikes - Jair Jurrjens 65-43, Cristhian Martinez 17-13, Scott Proctor 11-5, Eric O'Flaherty 13-7, Kyle Farnsworth 17-10, Craig Kimbrel 13-9, Kenshin Kawakami 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jair Jurrjens 5-3, Cristhian Martinez 2-0, Eric O'Flaherty 1-0, Kyle Farnsworth 1-1, Kenshin Kawakami 1-2
Batters Faced - Jair Jurrjens 21, Cristhian Martinez 5, Scott Proctor 4, Eric O'Flaherty 3, Kyle Farnsworth 3, Craig Kimbrel 3, Kenshin Kawakami 4
Game Information
Attendance - 20776
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Bill Welke