Game Report: Cardinals 6, Braves 2
By Rob Rains
Shelby Miller allowed just three hits over seven innings and the Cardinals got home runs from Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran in beating the Braves for the third consecutive night Saturday night at Busch Stadium, extending their winning streak to four games.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate:
After the Braves took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, Carpenter responded with his 10th homer of the year, the second leading off a game… Beltran’s 23rd homer of the year in the third broke the tie, and the Cardinals increased the lead to 5-1 in the seventh, two runs coming on Matt Holliday’s double. Yadier Molina also singled in a run and Beltran got his second RBI of the night with an eighth-inning single… Shane Robinson came in the game in a double switch in the seventh and got two hits, stole a base and scored twice … Holliday has now got at least one hit in his last 16 games at home, dating back to July 7, and is hitting .429 in that stretch with five homers and 17 RBI… Beltran has hit three homers in his last six games.
On the mound:
Miller mixed in a new pitch, a cutter, to deliver the best start he has had in a couple of months. He did not walk a batter and only went to a three-ball count twice, and got through seven innings on just 101 pitches. It was the first time he had lasted through the seventh inning since June 1, a span of 15 starts. It also was the first time a Cardinal starter other than Adam Wainwright has worked at least seven innings since Lance Lynn pitched eight innings on Aug. 4. “I tried to keep my focus the entire time and attack hitters,” Miller said. “That’s what you’re supposed to do up here as a starter. Waino and all these guys have cutters and they are amazing pitchers, so I’m just trying to have something extra. It’s a great pitch. It’s kind of taking over the game a little bit. I’m not going to change the way I pitch but it’s something extra to have.”… The only run Miller allowed came on a solo homer by Freddie Freeman in the first inning. It was the 16th home run allowed by Miller this year, but 11 of them have come with nobody on base … After Trevor Rosenthal pitched the eighth, the Cardinals needed three pitchers to get the final out in the ninth, with Edward Mujica coming in with runners on second and third to strike out Elliot Johnson on three pitches for his 34th save … The win by Miller was his 12th of the year, the most by a Cardinals rookie since Alan Benes won 13 games in 1996… It was his first win since Aug. 2 and his first win at home since June 17.
This was the first time since Sept. 25-26 last year that the Cardinals have gone two consecutive games without issuing a walk. Their string is now at 20 innings since the last walk, when Kevin Siegrist issued a walk in the seventh inning Thursday night in the opening game of the series.
Carpenter’s home run was his 47th extra-base hit of the season. The last Cardinal leadoff hitter to record that many extra-base hits was Fernando Vina in 2001 … Jon Jay made perhaps his best catch of the season with a leaping grab of a fly ball hit by Brian McCann on the warning track in right center in the seventh, a point when the Cardinals were only leading 2-1… Miller’s six strikeouts gave him 151 for the season and moved him into fifth place all-time among St. Louis rookie pitchers.
The Cardinals will try to complete the sweep of the four-game series Sunday afternoon, sending Lynn (13-7, 3.97 ERA) to the mound. He will be opposed by the Braves’ Mike Minor (12-5, 3.06 ERA).