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Atlanta at St. Louis

Final 10th
St. Louis
W: J. Motte (4-2) L: S. Linebrink (4-3)
HR: ATL - None   STL - None

Cards edge Braves to keep faint playoff hopes alive

CBSSports.com wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- Nick Punto's alter ego is The Shredder, a maniac who rips dress shirts right off a teammates' torso.

"It's been known to happen on occasion," the St. Louis Cardinals' utilityman said. "I've actually shredded people's dress shirts on airplane flights."

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Teammates returned the favor after Punto's game-winning sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the 10th inning beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Friday night. During the ensuing celebration on the field, they tore off Punto's jersey.

"I guess that was payback," Punto said. "It's a celebration of friendship, good friends."

Albert Pujols' two-run single with two outs in the ninth off Craig Kimbrel tied it for the Cardinals, who kept alive faint postseason hopes

"Our season is not over," Pujols said. "All we can do is go out there and give it our best and hopefully at the end we can look back and say we gave it our best this year"

Pujols had three hits and his hit just inside the first-base line with two outs in the ninth ended Kimbrel's streak of 25 consecutive saves. The Cardinals loaded the bases on a hit and two walks for Pujols, who is 4 for 10 with 11 RBI with the bases loaded.

"Whenever you put guys on for free, it seems like it always comes back to get you," Kimbrel said. "I hung a pitch there at the end and he kept it inside the line.

"I made a mistake and he made me pay for it."

Pujols is batting .298 and has 87 RBI with 18 games to go. He's batted .300 with 100 RBI each of his 11 seasons.

Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman singled off Scott Linebrink (4-3) to start the 10th and moved up on a sacrifice. Skip Schumaker was intentionally walked before Punto, with a full count, ended it with a line drive to center in his first plate appearance since coming off the 15-day disabled list from an oblique injury.

Punto has been limited to only 48 games and has been on the disabled list three times.

"It's been a tough year for me, definitely," Punto said. "To be able to put that ball in play, it was huge."

Pujols said Punto was among a small group of teammates able to shred shirts. Punto absolved himself of financial obligation.

"The Shredder, he doesn't pay guys back," Punto said. "Nick would. I'm a good guy. The Shredder, not so much."

Kimbrel leads the majors with 43 saves but he got his first blown save since June 14. He had worked 38 consecutive scoreless outings covering 37 2/3 innings, allowing 14 hits and 11 walks with 67 strikeouts.

Jason Motte (4-2) worked a perfect 10th for the Cardinals, who are 6½ games behind the Braves for the NL wild card and seven behind NL-Central leading Milwaukee.

Michael Bourn matched his career best with four hits and an RBI for the Braves, who also got RBI doubles from Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman in the first inning. Chipper Jones was robbed his first two trips by Berkman's outstanding running catch at the track in right in the first inning and second baseman Skip Schumaker's leaping grab of a liner in the third. Jones singled in the seventh.

Bourn's RBI triple off Arthur Rhodes gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.

"That was great against a tough left-handed pitcher," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Get a triple and get another run, so you feel good.

"But again, you can't run out the clock. You've got to throw it over the plate and get the last out and we just didn't do that today."

Randall Delgado was the fourth straight rookie starter for Atlanta and gave up a run and three hits in five innings in his fourth career start. He followed Greg Beachy, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran in the rotation for the Braves, who are without Tommy Hanson (right shoulder tendinitis) and Jair Jurrjens (straight right knee).

Linebrink has allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings since coming off the disabled list from a lower back strain on Aug 14.

Edwin Jackson shut down the Braves his last five innings, although Atlanta left the bases loaded in the fourth. Rafael Furcal had three walks and a hit, and he was thrown out at second to end the seventh after trying for the extra base on a single after pinch-runner Tyler Greene drew a throw to third.

Holliday and Pujols grounded into double plays to boost the Cardinals' major league-leading total to 154, 12 shy of matching their own NL record set in 1958. Pujols leads the majors with 28 and Holliday is second in the NL with 20, one more than teammate Yadier Molina.


  • Freeman has 150 hits, most by a Braves rookie since 1969, and before the game he led NL rookies in average, hits, RBI and doubles.
  • Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has said he'd like to get Greene several starts at SS, but not until Furcal cools down. Furcal has had success against the Braves' next two starters, going 6 for 17 with a homer and three RBI against Derek Lowe and 7 for 19 with a homer against Tim Hudson .
  • The Cardinals are averaging 6.04 runs for Jaime Garcia (11-7, 3.65), highest in the NL, entering Saturday's matchup against Lowe (9-13, 4.65).
  • La Russa caught the last half-hour of Carlos Santana's concert in St. Louis on Wednesday and went on stage to shake maracas on one song. "Really tough. Keep the beat, smile," he said.
Copyright 2017 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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Albert Pujols runs to first base after hitting a game-tying single in the ninth inning. (AP)
Albert Pujols runs to first base after hitting a game-tying single in the ninth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game

M. Bourn
AB 5
R 1
H 4
HR 0
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0

Related Video

Atlanta Braves
Michael Bourn, CF5141010 .301
Chipper Jones, 3B5010004 .282
Brian McCann, C4111102 .277
Dan Uggla, 2B5000002 .233
Freddie Freeman, 1B5021010 .294
Martin Prado, LF4010013 .263
Jason Heyward, RF3000101 .222
Jack Wilson, SS4000024 .243
Randall Delgado, P2000023 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   a- Jose Constanza, PH1000010 .320
    Arodys Vizcaino, P0000000 .000
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
   b- Eric Hinske, PH1010000 .246
    Antoan Richardson, PR0100000 .333
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
    Scott Linebrink, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Moylan in the 7th
b-singled for Venters in the 9th
2B - Brian McCann (17, Jackson), Freddie Freeman (31, Jackson)
3B - Michael Bourn (9, Rhodes)
RBI - Michael Bourn (46), Brian McCann (65), Freddie Freeman (68)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Bourn (26), Freddie Freeman (29)
SB - Jason Heyward (7, 2nd base off Jackson/Molina), Antoan Richardson (1, 2nd base off Dotel/Laird)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Jason Heyward 1
DP - J. Wilson-Uggla-Freeman, Venters-Uggla-Freeman
Atlanta Braves
Randall Delgado 5311330 3.60
Peter Moylan (H,2) 1200000 4.05
Arodys Vizcaino (H,5) 1200000 5.02
Jonny Venters (H,31) 1200010 1.56
Craig Kimbrel (BS,6) 1222210 1.78
Scott Linebrink (L,4-3) 0.2211100 3.70
IBB - Schumaker by Scott Linebrink
HBP - Holliday (by Jonny Venters)
Pitches-Strikes - Randall Delgado 93-54, Peter Moylan 12-10, Arodys Vizcaino 21-13, Jonny Venters 15-10, Craig Kimbrel 21-11, Scott Linebrink 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randall Delgado 7-4, Peter Moylan 2-0, Jonny Venters 1-0, Craig Kimbrel 1-0, Scott Linebrink 1-1
Batters Faced - Randall Delgado 20, Peter Moylan 4, Arodys Vizcaino 4, Jonny Venters 5, Craig Kimbrel 6, Scott Linebrink 5
St. Louis Cardinals
Rafael Furcal, SS2210301 .217
Jon Jay, CF3000012 .306
   a- Allen Craig, PH1010000 .316
    Adron Chambers, PR-CF0000000 .000
   b- Ryan Theriot, PH0000100 .271
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Albert Pujols, 1B5032002 .298
Matt Holliday, LF4111001 .301
Lance Berkman, RF4030111 .289
David Freese, 3B4010013 .297
   c- Daniel Descalso, PH0000000 .259
Skip Schumaker, 2B-CF4010101 .295
Yadier Molina, C3010012 .291
    Tyler Greene, PR0000000 .196
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .143
    Octavio Dotel, P0000000 .000
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000 .000
   d- Nick Punto, PH-2B1101001 .269
Edwin Jackson, P2010000 .250
    Marc Rzepczynski, P0000000 .000
   e- Corey Patterson, PH1000001 .242
    Gerald Laird, C1000011 .242
a-singled for Jay in the 8th
b-walked for Chambers in the 9th
c-hit a sacrifice bunt for Freese in the 10th
d-hit into fielder's choice for Rhodes in the 9th
e-flied out for Rzepczynski in the 7th
SF - Nick Punto (2)
SH - Daniel Descalso (9)
RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (87), Matt Holliday (73), Nick Punto (14)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (26)
SB - Rafael Furcal (6, 2nd base off Delgado/McCann)
CS - Edwin Jackson (1, 2nd base by Delgado/McCann)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Pujols-Furcal, Schumaker-Furcal-Pujols
E - Skip Schumaker (6, Dropped fly)
St. Louis Cardinals
Edwin Jackson 6722250 3.75
Marc Rzepczynski 1100020 2.67
Kyle McClellan 1000010 4.04
Octavio Dotel 0.2111000 3.30
Arthur Rhodes 0.1100000 5.16
Jason Motte (W,4-2) 1000000 1.67
Pitches-Strikes - Edwin Jackson 98-63, Marc Rzepczynski 16-11, Kyle McClellan 12-7, Octavio Dotel 10-6, Arthur Rhodes 7-5, Jason Motte 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edwin Jackson 7-5, Marc Rzepczynski 1-0, Kyle McClellan 1-1, Octavio Dotel 2-0, Arthur Rhodes 1-0, Jason Motte 1-2
Batters Faced - Edwin Jackson 26, Marc Rzepczynski 4, Kyle McClellan 3, Octavio Dotel 3, Arthur Rhodes 2, Jason Motte 3
Game Information
Attendance - 37129
Game Time - 3:37
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Cory Blaser