The Atlanta Braves overcame several what would have been disastrous mistakes to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals and salvage the weekend series, winning 6-5. The win sends Atlanta back to Turner Field still in first place (1/2 game lead) in the N.L. East, and with a 2-4 record through the two city trek.
The game started off promising, as Freddie Freeman launched a home run five or so rows up into the left field bleachers in the first inning to put the Braves up first for the fifth game in a row, and Gavin Floyd, while pitching into some trouble in the first inning, got out of it without surrendering anything. Smooth sailing, right?
Fast forward to the bottom of the second inning with two outs. Floyd strikes out Peter Bourjos on a swing and a miss, but the ball gets passed Braves catcher Gerald Laird, which allows Bourjos to reach. The Cardinals then follow up with a Jaime Garcia single and Matt Carpenter walk to load the bases for (the recently struggling) Kolten Wong, who doubled down the left field to clean the bases and give St. Louis their first lead of the contest.
The Cardinals would jump back on top in the seventh, as Jordan Schafer lost a battle with the sun and allowed a fly ball off the bat of Jhonny Peralta to drop several feet in front of him in, and coming in to score all the way from first would be Yadier Molina.
At this point, things are looking and feeling pretty grim, but the Braves turned their tides in the top of the ninth inning. Freeman lead off with a single and would move to third with two outs on a pinch-hit double from Ryan Doumit. The Cardinals took no chances with the White Bear, and decided to intentionally walk Evan Gattis to face Schafer, but Trevor Rosenthal loses the battle on a borderline pitch that sent Schafer to first, and brought home Freeman. A pitching change ensued, as St. Louis brought on Carlos Martinez to face Ramiro Pena, but a pitch that got passed Molina and went to the backstop brought home Doumit, and the Braves had their first – and what turned out to be last – lead of the game at 6-5.
Craig Kimbrel came in to try and close the door, and did just that, sealing the 6-5 victory.
If this game doesn’t bring certain issues to the boiling point with the Braves, much like it did from fans on twitter (including myself, who has been fairly quiet and patient with the recent struggles), I don’t know what will. The Braves had no business winning this game with all of their self-inflicted wounds, and it took the same type of mistakes from the Cardinal side of things to allow Atlanta the victory.
Chip Caray said it best in the top of the ninth, where a win like this could be just what the Braves need to turn the tide and get back on the winning track, which they’ll look to do when they host Milwaukee starting tomorrow.