After an important, streak-ending victory on Tuesday night at Turner Field, a touch of optimism could be felt as the Atlanta Braves headed into the series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals. However, the home team ran into a bit of a buzzsaw in former Braves farmhand Adam Wainwright, and Atlanta’s run prevention came up woefully short in a 7-1 defeat.
Mike Minor took the brunt of the damage for the Braves in this one, allowing 11 hits and 6 earned runs over just 4.1 innings of work. Through three innings, it looked as if Minor would be able to navigate the St. Louis lineup enough to keep the score close, but in the fourth, the floodgates opened. Matt Carpenter drove Peter Bourjos across (Bourjos also homered in the second inning) to make the score 3-1, and when Matt Holliday followed that with a 2-RBI single, the 5-1 margin proved to be insurmountable.
Offensively, the lone run came across on a Freddie Freeman RBI double in the third inning (scoring Justin Upton), and the Braves managed only seven hits against Wainwright and reliever Seth Maness. Wainwright finished 8 innings while allowing only 6 hits and striking out 6, and on a night when he didn’t need much in the way of support, his offense provided plenty of cushion. Freeman, Upton and Andrelton Simmons each reached base twice on the night, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
If there was a singular bright spot in this one for Atlanta, it was the work of David Hale. Hale relieved Minor in the middle of the fifth inning, and he retired eight consecutive batters to lower his ERA to 1.76 on the season. The young right-hander is the team’s long reliever after being ousted from the rotation when the rest of the arms became healthy, but it is nice to see Hale respond positively to his new role.
This defeat marks yet another series loss for the Braves, making it their third in a row. As losers of eight of their last nine games, there aren’t a lot of positives for this club right now, but on the bright spot, they’ll have a day off on Thursday before kicking things off against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night. Stay tuned.