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Braves hand Cards' Lynn first loss

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- All weekend, the Atlanta Braves got the key hits, got the big outs from their pitchers.

Jason Heyward had just three hits, but two of them put them ahead for good.

Heyward ended a 10-pitch at-bat with a bases-clearing double in third inning, helping the Braves give rookie Lance Lynn his first loss and beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

"It was a battle," Heyward said. "I just tried to keep perfecting my timing on every pitch. I just wanted to get a pitch to hit and hit it, or get a walk.

"I know it took a lot of out of him."

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Tommy Hanson (4-3) allowed one run in five innings with a season-high nine strikeouts and Martin Prado, Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla each had an RBI in a three-run seventh. The Braves had lost seven in a row in St. Louis before Friday and swept the Cardinals for the first time since Sept. 11-13, 2009, also in St. Louis.

All seven of Atlanta's runs came with two outs.

"We're rolling right now," Hanson said. "We're playing good baseball and doing good things on the road, so hopefully we can go back home and keep it up."

The Heyward at-bat cost Lynn (6-1) a chance to become the franchise's first pitcher to win his first seven starts of the season dating to 1920, according to STATS LLC.

"You don't want to pitch to him in those situations," Lynn said. "I walked two guys in front of him and you can't do that and give a guy like that a chance. And he beat me."

Carlos Beltran homered for the sixth time in six games with his league-leading 13th of the season and Allen Craig hit a three-run homer off Cristhian Martinez in the ninth for his third hit of the game and fifth homer in seven games.

Rafael Furcal had three hits and a walk to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, but the NL Central leaders struck out 14 times and stranded 10 runners while getting swept for the first time.

The Braves totaled 56 runs during a 7-2 trip, including a pair of extra-inning victories, and also swept a three-game series at Colorado. Since losing its first four games of the season, Atlanta is a major-league best 22-9 with four road series wins.

The Cardinals had runners on first and second with none out in the first before Hanson found his stride, and he struck out five of the next seven batters. Hanson fanned cleanup hitter Craig twice and permitted just one runner in scoring position the next four innings before tiring in the sixth.

"I felt good with everything and for the most part did a good job of locating," Hanson said. "Nah, I didn't get tired. But I just didn't make quality pitches that inning."

Lynn threw a season-high 121 pitches in six innings, retiring his last eight in order, but the Braves made him work early by fouling off 26 pitches the first three innings. He's among three Cardinals to win their first six starts, along with Bob Tewksbury (1994) and Max Lanier (1946).

Lynn needed 26 pitches to escape unscathed in the first after the Braves put the first two on, and threw 39 more in the third. Heyward, whose 12th-inning two-run homer was the go-ahead hit on Friday, fouled off three pitches on a full count before his bases-clearing double.

Lynn struck out seven and has struck out 27 in 25 2/3 innings his past four starts.

Beltran had been 0 for 13 against Hanson before leading off the sixth with his 13th homer, and Craig and Lance Berkman followed with singles to chase Hanson. Eric O'Flaherty struck out pinch hitters Matt Holliday and Tyler Greene, the last with the bases loaded, to end the inning.

The Cardinals kept the Braves off the board in the first inning for the first time in the series, but were outscored 14-6 the last two games of the series.

Berkman, activated by the Cardinals from the 15-day disabled list from a calf injury before the game, was 1 for 5 with two strikeouts.

"I hadn't played in a month, so I felt like I was pretty pleased with the at-bats for not having been in there," Berkman said. "It's just going to take some time."

Chipper Jones entered in a double switch in the sixth and was 0 for 1 with a walk in his final regular season appearance in St. Louis. The 40-year-old Jones is retiring after the season and received a Cardinals jersey autographed by boyhood idol Stan Musial in a pregame ceremony.

"I've always enjoyed coming here and the fan base in St. Louis is part of that," Jones said. "You can have an opposing player hit three home runs against the Cardinals and these fans will give him an ovation for a job well done."

Notes

  • Furcal and Braves leadoff man Michael Bourn, who had two singles and an RBI in the eighth, have 51 hits apiece. Bourn entered the day leading the league in hits. Furcal's 309th stolen base passed Alex Rodriguez for 11th among active hitters.
  • Greene is 2 for 17 for his career as a pinch hitter and Holliday is 4 for 20.
  • A standing room crowd of 45,729 lured by a David Freese bobblehead giveaway, with hundreds standing in line 2 1/2 hours before game time, was the Cardinals' seventh sellout.
  • Beltran is 9 for 25 with six homers, a double and triple and 13 RBIs his past six games.
  • Lynn's previous pitch high was 110 at Chicago on April 25.
  • Craig's homer was the first allowed by Martinez 10 appearances.
  • The last team to sweep the Cardinals at home was the Dodgers on Aug. 22-24, 2011.
 
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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Jason Heyward finishes off a tough at-bat with a bases-clearing double to help the Braves defeat the Cardinals.  (Getty Images)
Jason Heyward finishes off a tough at-bat with a bases-clearing double to help the Braves defeat the Cardinals. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

J. Heyward
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
St. Louis

A. Craig
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF5021022 .336
Martin Prado, LF4221002 .281
Freddie Freeman, 1B4221112 .284
Dan Uggla, 2B4111122 .281
Jason Heyward, RF4013123 .252
Juan Francisco, 3B3000001 .212
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
   a- Eric Hinske, PH1000000 .359
    Jack Wilson, SS1000001 .150
David Ross, C3110121 .310
Tyler Pastornicky, SS4110003 .267
    Cristhian Martinez, P0000000 .000
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
Tommy Hanson, P2000011 .077
    Chad Durbin, P0000000 .000
    Chipper Jones, 3B1000111 .299
Totals367107511  
a-grounded out for O'Flaherty in the 8th
Batting
2B - Freddie Freeman 2 (10, Marte, Rzepczynski), Dan Uggla (8, Marte), Jason Heyward (4, Lynn), David Ross (3, Lynn)
RBI - Michael Bourn (10), Martin Prado (17), Freddie Freeman (28), Dan Uggla (22), Jason Heyward 3 (18)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Bourn (4), Martin Prado (8), Freddie Freeman (9), Dan Uggla (5), Jason Heyward 3 (4)
SB - Martin Prado (4, 2nd base off Marte/Cruz), Tyler Pastornicky (1, 2nd base off Marte/Cruz)
CS - Michael Bourn (5, 3rd base by Lynn/Cruz)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - David Ross (1, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tommy Hanson (W,4-3) 5511391 3.43
Chad Durbin (H,2) 0.1000000 7.82
Eric O'Flaherty (H,5) 1.2300040 5.14
Cristhian Martinez 1.2233101 3.86
Jonny Venters 0.1000010 2.13
WP - Cristhian Martinez (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hanson 97-57, Chad Durbin 2-1, Eric O'Flaherty 29-23, Cristhian Martinez 21-15, Jonny Venters 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hanson 3-3, Eric O'Flaherty 1-0, Cristhian Martinez 1-4
Batters Faced - Tommy Hanson 23, Chad Durbin 1, Eric O'Flaherty 8, Cristhian Martinez 8, Jonny Venters 1
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rafael Furcal, SS3030100 .383
    Marc Rzepczynski, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Carpenter, PH1110000 .277
Jon Jay, CF4000105 .347
Carlos Beltran, RF4211124 .298
Allen Craig, LF5133022 .359
Lance Berkman, 1B5010034 .321
David Freese, 3B4000012 .291
Daniel Descalso, 2B1000110 .206
   b- Matt Holliday, PH1000012 .255
    Victor Marte, P0000000 .000
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .000
   c- Skip Schumaker, PH-2B1000000 .306
Tony Cruz, C4010011 .160
Lance Lynn, P2000021 .167
   d- Tyler Greene, PH-2B^SS2000013 .194
Totals374104414  
a-doubled for Rzepczynski in the 9th
b-struck out for Descalso in the 6th
c-lined out for McClellan in the 8th
d-struck out for Lynn in the 6th
Batting
2B - Matt Carpenter (7, Cr. Martinez)
HR - Carlos Beltran (13, Hanson), Allen Craig (5, Cr. Martinez)
RBI - Carlos Beltran (32), Allen Craig 3 (16)
2-OUT RBI - Allen Craig 3 (9)
SB - Rafael Furcal (7, 3rd base off Hanson/Ross), Jon Jay (4, 2nd base off Hanson/Ross)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Cruz-Freese, T. Greene-Berkman
PB - Tony Cruz (1)
E - Tyler Greene (2, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Lance Lynn (L,6-1) 6433370 1.81
Victor Marte 0.2433020 4.30
Kyle McClellan 1.1111210 4.42
Marc Rzepczynski 1100010 2.25
HBP - Prado (by Lance Lynn)
Pitches-Strikes - Lance Lynn 121-76, Victor Marte 30-19, Kyle McClellan 28-16, Marc Rzepczynski 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Lance Lynn 7-3, Kyle McClellan 1-2, Marc Rzepczynski 2-0
Batters Faced - Lance Lynn 25, Victor Marte 6, Kyle McClellan 7, Marc Rzepczynski 4
Game Information
Attendance - 45729
Game Time - 3:33
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Brian Knight, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Wally Bell