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St. Louis at Atlanta

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St. Louis (73-67)000002010000370
Atlanta (82-61) «1000101000036112

Gonzalez hits three-run HR in 12th, Braves drop Cards

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ATLANTA -- Alex Gonzalez got the fly ball he wanted.

It was just a bonus that the drive cleared the left-field wall.

Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the 12th inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Saturday to move into a tie for the NL East lead.

Postseason Chase

With runners on first and third and the outfielders playing shallow to guard against a sacrifice fly, Gonzalez hit the winning shot off Mitchell Boggs.

"I tried to hit a fly ball deep," Gonzalez said. "I got it deep enough."

The Braves improved their major league-best home record to 51-20 and grabbed a share of the division lead with the Philadelphia Phillies, who lost to the New York Mets 4-3.

Albert Pujols had three RBIs for St. Louis, giving him 102 for the year and 10 straight seasons with more than 100 RBI.

"I play aggressive," Pujols said when asked about the milestone. "Nobody can take that away from me. ... I try to do everything I can to help my team."

Gonzalez was 0 for 5 before connecting for his fifth homer since he joined Atlanta in a July trade with Toronto. He struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning and struck out again in the seventh with two runners on base.

Gonzalez made the most of his one hit.

"He crushed that ball," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He had a few chances today and he didn't get it done, but boy he did in that inning. He's a great player."

Boggs said he "didn't back off" when facing Gonzalez but left the pitch too high.

"That was everything I had," Boggs said.

Catcher Brian McCann, who called the win "the funnest game of the year," said the Braves were not watching the Phillies' score.

"We're not looking at that game," he said. "We just have to keep playing."

St. Louis is facing an uphill climb to return to the playoffs. The Cardinals were six games back of NL Central-leading Cincinnati and 6 ½ back in the wild-card race before Saturday's games.

Boggs (2-3) walked Rick Ankiel with one out in the 12th and pinch-hitter Eric Hinske followed with a single up the middle, putting runners on the corners.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa visited the mound but left Boggs in to face Gonzalez, who now has 22 homers on the year.

Rookie Craig Kimbrel (3-0) struck out two in a perfect 12th to get the win.

Jason Heyward hit a leadoff drive off Dennys Reyes in the seventh to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead. The rookie is batting .429 (36 for 84) with five homers and 15 RBI in his last 21 games.

The Cardinals tied it in the eighth, taking advantage when third baseman Martin Prado bobbled Pedro Feliz's grounder. Prado's one-out error loaded the bases for Pujols, who drove in Brendan Ryan with a grounder off Peter Moylan.

Pujols also had a tying two-run double in the sixth.

Georgia native Jake Westbrook pitched six innings for the Cardinals, yielding two runs and seven hits. The right-hander, who was acquired in a trade with Cleveland on July 31, walked five and struck out three.

Atlanta's Tommy Hanson gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings.

Westbrook, who walked eight batters in 44 innings over his first seven starts with the Cardinals, issued consecutive walks to Derrek Lee and Nate McLouth to force in a run in the first. McLouth added a run-scoring triple in the fifth.

Westbrook lives in Danielsville, Ga., about 90 minutes from Atlanta. He pitched only two days after his wife, Heather, gave birth to a girl, Harper, in Atlanta.

Westbrook was making his second career appearance in Atlanta, following a loss with the Indians on June 19, 2004.

Notes

  • La Russa said LHP Trever Miller will meet the team in St. Louis after the series. La Russa said Miller, who has soreness in his left elbow, is making progress and is expecting to play catch on Sunday.
  • Former Cardinals slugger Ankiel ended a streak of strikeouts in nine straight at-bats when he grounded out to end the ninth inning.
  • Attendance was 51,078, the season's second-largest total at Turner Field, trailing only the opening day total of 53,081 against the Cubs.
 
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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Alex Gonzalez reacts after knocking out a three-run shot in the 12th to lead the Braves past the Cards.  (AP)
Alex Gonzalez reacts after knocking out a three-run shot in the 12th to lead the Braves past the Cards. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

A. Gonzalez
AB 6
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 5
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
 
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Skip Schumaker, 2B3110001 .274
   a- Tyler Greene, PH0000000 .228
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
   b- Randy Winn, PH1000000 .245
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .500
    Aaron Miles, 2B0000000 .302
Jon Jay, RF3000013 .315
   c- Pedro Feliz, PH-3B2000000 .220
Albert Pujols, 1B5013000 .309
Matt Holliday, LF5010012 .305
Colby Rasmus, CF4000111 .271
Felipe Lopez, 3B-2B^RF4010011 .233
Yadier Molina, C5000012 .252
Jake Westbrook, P2000010 .118
    Dennys Reyes, P0000000 .000
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
   d- Nick Stavinoha, PH-RF3010011 .243
    Mitchell Boggs, P0000000 .000
Brendan Ryan, SS5220011 .224
Totals4237318  
a-hit by pitch for Schumaker in the 8th
b-grounded out for Franklin in the 10th
c-grounded out for Jay in the 8th
d-singled for Motte in the 8th
Batting
2B - Albert Pujols (34, Hanson)
SH - Felipe Lopez (2)
RBI - Albert Pujols 3 (102)
CS - Albert Pujols (4, 3rd base by Hanson/McCann)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Westbrook-Schumaker-Pujols
PB - Yadier Molina (6)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Westbrook 6722530 4.41
Dennys Reyes 0.2111011 4.05
Jason Motte 0.1100110 2.49
Ryan Franklin 2000030 3.55
Kyle McClellan 2000110 2.04
Mitchell Boggs (L,2-3) 0.1233111 3.96
IBB - McLouth by Jason Motte
WP - Jake Westbrook (8)
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 104-64, Dennys Reyes 13-8, Jason Motte 12-6, Ryan Franklin 37-25, Kyle McClellan 26-15, Mitchell Boggs 20-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 8-5, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Ryan Franklin 3-1, Kyle McClellan 2-3
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 28, Dennys Reyes 3, Jason Motte 3, Ryan Franklin 7, Kyle McClellan 7, Mitchell Boggs 4
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Omar Infante, 2B5020121 .341
Jason Heyward, RF4111212 .286
Martin Prado, 3B5220101 .316
Brian McCann, C6020033 .276
Derrek Lee, 1B3010101 .254
    Rick Ankiel, PR-CF1100100 .234
Nate McLouth, CF2012200 .183
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
    Takashi Saito, P0000000 .000
   a- Brooks Conrad, PH1000000 .244
    Kyle Farnsworth, P0000000 .000
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
   b- Eric Hinske, PH1110000 .252
Alex Gonzalez, SS6113026 .261
Melky Cabrera, LF5000000 .257
Tommy Hanson, P3000010 .109
    Freddie Freeman, 1B2000010 .083
Totals446116810  
a-grounded out for Saito in the 10th
b-singled for Kimbrel in the 12th
Batting
2B - Derrek Lee (28, Motte)
3B - Nate McLouth (1, Westbrook)
HR - Jason Heyward (17, Reyes), Alex Gonzalez (22, Boggs)
RBI - Jason Heyward (68), Nate McLouth 2 (20), Alex Gonzalez 3 (80)
2-OUT RBI - Nate McLouth 2 (4)
CS - Omar Infante (6, 2nd base by Westbrook/Molina)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
E - Tommy Hanson (3, Throwing), Martin Prado (10, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tommy Hanson 7522050 3.54
Jonny Venters (H,20) 0.1110000 1.86
Peter Moylan (BS,3) 0.2000000 3.05
Billy Wagner 1000110 1.50
Takashi Saito 1000000 2.60
Kyle Farnsworth 1100000 3.07
Craig Kimbrel (W,3-0) 1000020 0.79
HBP - T. Greene (by Jonny Venters)
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hanson 94-60, Jonny Venters 11-6, Peter Moylan 3-2, Billy Wagner 16-10, Takashi Saito 9-7, Kyle Farnsworth 19-11, Craig Kimbrel 15-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hanson 9-6, Jonny Venters 2-0, Peter Moylan 2-0, Billy Wagner 1-1, Takashi Saito 2-1, Kyle Farnsworth 1-2
Batters Faced - Tommy Hanson 25, Jonny Venters 4, Peter Moylan 2, Billy Wagner 4, Takashi Saito 3, Kyle Farnsworth 4, Craig Kimbrel 3
Game Information
Attendance - 51078
Game Time - 4:01
Temperature - 93
Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Tim Welke