St. Louis at Atlanta

Scoreboard
St. Louis (73-66)0121002006101
Atlanta (81-61) «01010600x8111

Stumbling Braves use big sixth inning to top Cardinals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- The Braves are still in second place, yet feeling a whole lot better after rallying against Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Atlanta scored six runs in the sixth inning, sending 10 hitters to the plate and taking advantage of a dropped fly ball by right fielder Jon Jay to rally for a much-needed 8-5 victory Friday night.

"That was huge," said Brooks Conrad, who sparked the big inning with a pinch-hit single. "Every one from here on out is huge. Now we're looking to string a few together."

Postseason Chase

The Braves appeared headed for their seventh loss in nine games when they fell behind 4-1 in the fourth. They gave up a two-run homer to Matt Holliday and a two more RBI to Carpenter, who began the night hitting .098 but had a run-scoring single and the second homer of his career batting in the eighth spot.

Carpenter (15-6) couldn't back up his good work at the plate. The Braves closed to 4-2 in the fourth on Brian McCann's run-scoring single, then knocked out the St. Louis starter in the sixth.

Atlanta remained one game behind NL East-leading Philadelphia, which beat the New York Mets 8-4. St. Louis stayed five games behind Cincinnati in the NL Central.

"It was a great comeback against a great pitcher," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We've just been on this little losing streak, and we needed to snap it."

Conrad got it started with the first of four straight hits off Carpenter. Jason Heyward yanked an RBI single to right and Martin Prado doubled to tie the game at 4.

McCann followed with a deep fly ball to right that would've brought in a run, since Heyward was tagging, but wound up driving in both runners when Jay dropped the ball just short of the wall. McCann rumbled all the way to third, and trotted home on Derrek Lee's run-scoring single.

"He's a good outfielder," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said of Jay. "He [usually] makes that play. That's baseball. A six-spot is tough to accept. It should have been a three-spot."

That wasn't the only break for the Braves. Conrad appeared to be picked off at second on a throw from catcher Yadier Molina, but umpire Bill Welke called the runner safe. Even Conrad looked a bit surprised by the call, the tag appearing to get him on the right shoulder just before he scrambled back to the bag.

Carpenter was lifted after Lee's hit, having failed to get an out in the sixth. He was charged with six earned runs and eight hits. Melky Cabrera added a sacrifice fly before Conrad, batting for the second time, hit a flyout that finally ended the inning.

St. Louis scored a pair of runs off Jonny Venters in the seventh, but Takashi Saito and Billy Wagner closed out the Cardinals, with Wagner earning his 33rd save in 40 chances. Atlanta won its major league-leading 50th home game.

Peter Moylan (6-2) won with a scoreless sixth after taking over for starter Mike Minor, who surrendered four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings.

Carpenter allowed more than three earned runs for the first time since July 3, a span of 12 starts.

"I felt good. My stuff was good," he said. "It was bad timing to have an inning like that."

La Russa's unorthodox lineup, revived for the series in Atlanta in hopes of sparking his slumping team, appeared to backfire when Carpenter, batting just .098 (6 for 61), came up in the second with two outs and two runners aboard.

Not so fast. Carpenter lined a single to left to put the Cardinals ahead.

After the Braves tied it on Nate McLouth's long homer in the bottom half, Holliday hit a drive over the center-field wall for his 26th homer.

Then it was Carpenter's turn to go deep. Minor left a fastball out over the plate and his counterpart, swinging late but making good contact, sent a drive to right that just cleared the wall over a leaping Heyward. Carpenter made an extremely slow trot around the bases, thoroughly savoring the moment.

It didn't last.

Notes
  • RHP Jake Westbrook will have an extra mouth to feed when he starts Saturday for the Cardinals. His wife, Heather, delivered the couple's third child on Thursday, a girl named Harper.
  • Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton was ejected by first-base umpire Jim Reynolds in the third inning for arguing over a checked swing by Albert Pujols. Reynolds ruled that Pujols didn't go around, Pendleton began shouting from the dugout and the umpire quickly gave him the heave. The ump even waved at Pendleton and mouthed, "Bye, bye."
  • OF Skip Schumaker didn't start for St. Louis despite hitting a homer in the series opener. Russa didn't want to use the left-handed hitter against the Braves' lefty starter. Schumaker will be in the lineup for the final two games of the series against RHPs Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson.
 
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.
 
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The Braves haven't had much luck lately, but they have a nice night of offense for their third win in the last nine games. (US Presswire)
The Braves haven't had much luck lately, but they have a nice night of offense for their third win in the last nine games. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

M. Holliday
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Atlanta

M. Prado
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Tyler Greene, 2B-SS5100001 .228
Jon Jay, RF3110010 .319
   a- Randy Winn, PH-RF1000000 .246
   b- Nick Stavinoha, PH1000010 .240
Albert Pujols, 1B4000111 .310
Matt Holliday, LF4233000 .306
Colby Rasmus, CF3000123 .273
Yadier Molina, C4010013 .255
Pedro Feliz, 3B3010011 .222
   c- Skip Schumaker, PH-2B1000010 .274
Chris Carpenter, P3122011 .125
    Mitchell Boggs, P0000000 .000
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .500
   d- Bryan Anderson, PH1000000 .286
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Brendan Ryan, SS3120002 .222
   e- Aaron Miles, PH-3B1000000 .302
Totals37610529  
a-grounded out for Jay in the 7th
b-struck out for Winn in the 9th
c-struck out for Feliz in the 8th
d-grounded out for McClellan in the 8th
e-popped out for Ryan in the 8th
Batting
HR - Matt Holliday (26, Minor), Chris Carpenter (1, Minor)
RBI - Matt Holliday 3 (91), Chris Carpenter 2 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Holliday 2 (45), Chris Carpenter 2 (3)
CS - Colby Rasmus (7, 2nd base by Moylan/McCann)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - T. Greene-Ryan-Pujols
E - Jon Jay (1, Dropped fly)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Carpenter (L,15-6) 5886041 3.09
Mitchell Boggs 1100000 3.54
Kyle McClellan 1000100 2.10
Jason Motte 1200010 2.51
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 79-53, Mitchell Boggs 19-11, Kyle McClellan 17-9, Jason Motte 20-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 4-7, Mitchell Boggs 1-2, Kyle McClellan 2-1
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 23, Mitchell Boggs 4, Kyle McClellan 4, Jason Motte 4
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Omar Infante, 2B4110000 .340
Jason Heyward, RF3111110 .287
Martin Prado, 3B4221011 .315
Brian McCann, C3112001 .275
Derrek Lee, 1B4121001 .254
    Rick Ankiel, PR-CF0000000 .235
Nate McLouth, CF3111001 .180
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
Alex Gonzalez, SS4010021 .262
Melky Cabrera, LF3011001 .260
Mike Minor, P1000010 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   a- Brooks Conrad, PH2110001 .246
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
    Takashi Saito, P0000000 .000
    Freddie Freeman, 1B0000000 .100
Totals31811715  
a-singled for Moylan in the 6th
Batting
2B - Martin Prado 2 (38, Carpenter, Carpenter)
HR - Nate McLouth (4, Carpenter)
SF - Brian McCann (4), Melky Cabrera (3)
SH - Nate McLouth (6)
RBI - Jason Heyward (67), Martin Prado (64), Brian McCann 2 (74), Derrek Lee (68), Nate McLouth (18), Melky Cabrera (40)
2-OUT RBI - Nate McLouth (2)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Martin Prado (9, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Minor 5744142 5.63
Peter Moylan (W,6-2) 1100020 3.09
Jonny Venters 1221110 1.87
Takashi Saito (H,16) 1000010 2.65
Billy Wagner (S,33) 1000010 1.53
WP - Jonny Venters (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 99-61, Peter Moylan 13-10, Jonny Venters 25-15, Takashi Saito 12-8, Billy Wagner 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 1-10, Jonny Venters 3-0, Takashi Saito 1-1
Batters Faced - Mike Minor 23, Peter Moylan 3, Jonny Venters 7, Takashi Saito 3, Billy Wagner 3
Game Information
Attendance - 40656
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 90
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Mike DiMuro