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Atlanta at St. Louis

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Atlanta (84-63)000002010360
St. Louis (79-67) «00501000x681

Cards sweep Braves, move within 4 1/2 in wild card

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Yadier Molina and the St. Louis Cardinals are back in the playoff picture.

Molina had three hits, including a three-run double, and the Cardinals beat the slumping Atlanta Braves 6-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game series sweep.

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The Cardinals pulled within 4½ games of NL wild card-leading Atlanta and remained six games back of Central-leading Milwaukee They have 16 games left and open a three-game set in Pittsburgh on Monday.

The Braves start a three-game series with the Marlins on Monday and have 15 games remaining.

"I feel like we are [in the race] if we keep winning," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "It's exciting baseball. Guys have come through all over the roster. We got a shot."

The Cardinals know they have left themselves no margin for error.

"It doesn't mean anything if you go and you don't have a good road trip," first baseman Albert Pujols said. "We're just going to continue playing and at the end of the road trip we'll see where we are."

Atlanta has dropped seven straight games at Busch Stadium and hasn't won in St. Louis since Sept. 13, 2009. The Braves lost six of eight on their road trip.

"We did nothing right," Braves star Chipper Jones said of the road stint.

Jake Westbrook (12-8) allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings for the Cardinals. Jason Motte pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save in eight chances.

"It was a good win for us," Westbrook said. "I would have liked to have gotten deeper in the game and saved our bullpen a little bit but that just wasn't the case."

St. Louis got to Tim Hudson (14-10) for five runs in the third, taking advantage of a lapse in control by the right-hander. Hudson plunked Daniel Descalso leading off the inning, and hit Jon Jay with another pitch with two down, leaving runners on the corners.

Pujols hit an RBI single before Hudson issued consecutive walks to Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, forcing home a run. Molina then cleared the bases with a double to right, making it 5-0.

Hudson was charged with six runs and eight hits in six innings.

"I made my bed," Hudson said. "I set them up for an inning and I just didn't make good pitches. They had good at-bats and made me pay for it."

Jones did hit a solo drive in the eighth for his 17th homer of the season and No. 453 for his career, moving him ahead of Carl Yastrzemski and into 33rd place. Freddie Freeman singled in a run for Atlanta, and pinch-hitter Matt Diaz had a sacrifice fly.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said his team needs to regroup a bit after playing eight road games in seven days.

"It feels like we're close offensively," Gonzalez said. "Let's just go home, lick our wounds a little bit and go get them."

Notes

  • Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse (13-8) will oppose Brad Lincoln (1-2) on Monday in Pittsburgh. Brandon Beachy (7-2) will get the ball for the Braves on Monday in Atlanta. Chris Volstad (5-12) is scheduled to pitch for the Marlins.
  • Freeman's RBI was his 71st, tops among all rookies.
  • Pujols went 13 for 36 on the Cardinals' nine-game homestand to raise his average to .297.
 
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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Yadier Molina helps his team with a three-run double, one of his three hits against Atlanta. (AP)
Yadier Molina helps his team with a three-run double, one of his three hits against Atlanta. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

Y. Molina
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
Atlanta

C. Jones
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF4000011 .299
Jack Wilson, SS4110000 .249
Chipper Jones, 3B4221000 .283
Dan Uggla, 2B4010002 .233
Freddie Freeman, 1B3011100 .296
Eric Hinske, LF2000013 .242
   a- Matt Diaz, PH-LF1001010 .267
David Ross, C4000034 .257
Jason Heyward, RF4010020 .223
Tim Hudson, P1000000 .129
   b- Brooks Conrad, PH1000000 .240
    Cristhian Martinez, P0000000 .333
Totals3236318  
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Hinske in the 6th
b-flied out for Hudson in the 7th
Batting
HR - Chipper Jones (17, McClellan)
SF - Matt Diaz (2)
SH - Tim Hudson (7)
RBI - Chipper Jones (65), Freddie Freeman (71), Matt Diaz (20)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jason Heyward 1
DP - Jones-Uggla-Freeman
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tim Hudson (L,14-10) 6866240 3.32
Cristhian Martinez 2000010 3.41
HBP - Descalso (by Tim Hudson), Jay (by Tim Hudson)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 95-59, Cristhian Martinez 20-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 7-5, Cristhian Martinez 3-2
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 28, Cristhian Martinez 6
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rafael Furcal, SS4000002 .218
Jon Jay, CF3220000 .307
Albert Pujols, 1B4111012 .297
Matt Holliday, LF3111100 .300
Lance Berkman, RF3101121 .290
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C4033000 .295
Skip Schumaker, 2B-RF4000013 .292
Daniel Descalso, 3B2110010 .261
Jake Westbrook, P0000000 .114
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000 .000
   a- Adron Chambers, PH1000000 .000
    Octavio Dotel, P0000000 .000
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .143
    Nick Punto, 2B0000000 .264
Totals2868625  
a-grounded out for Rhodes in the 6th
Batting
2B - Jon Jay (21, Hudson), Yadier Molina (26, Hudson)
SH - Jake Westbrook 2 (9)
RBI - Albert Pujols (89), Matt Holliday (74), Lance Berkman (86), Yadier Molina 3 (57)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (27), Lance Berkman (29), Yadier Molina 3 (27)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Rafael Furcal (9, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Westbrook (W,12-8) 5.1522140 4.61
Arthur Rhodes 0.2000010 5.04
Octavio Dotel 1000000 3.23
Kyle McClellan 1111001 4.08
Jason Motte (S,5) 1000030 1.61
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 89-60, Arthur Rhodes 7-5, Octavio Dotel 8-7, Kyle McClellan 13-8, Jason Motte 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 8-5, Octavio Dotel 1-2, Kyle McClellan 2-1
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 23, Arthur Rhodes 2, Octavio Dotel 3, Kyle McClellan 4, Jason Motte 3
Game Information
Attendance - 39710
Game Time - 2:22
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Chris Guccione, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Mike Winters