Braves secure series sweep with a 7-4 win
A combination of solid pitching and timely hitting led the Braves to a 7-4 victory and a series sweep against the St. Louis Cardinals.
This matchup pitted Tommy Hanson against the red hot rookie Lance Lynn. Lynn entered today 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA, having given up just six runs all season. His fastball looked electric, regularly touching 95-96 mph on the gun, but he did not seem to be in command of his offspeed pitches. It didn’t take long for the Braves to touch him up.
With two outs in the third, Prado singled, and Uggla and Freeman followed up with walks, loading the bases for Jason Heyward. Heyward worked the count full and fought off a few more pitches before shooting a double into the corner in right, scoring all three runners and putting the Braves out to an early 3-0 lead. Lynn finished the third inning having thrown 81 pitches, and this high pitch total would continue to haunt him throughout the game.
On the flipside, Hanson looked great through five innings, sporting what may have been his best stuff all year; his fastball touched 92-93, reminding us all of the Tommy Hanson of old. He got into a bit of a jam in the first before striking out Beltran, Craig, Berkman, Freese, and Descalso in order over the next two innings. In total, Tommy struck out nine through five official innings. However, he ran into a bit of trouble in the sixth, giving up three hits in a row, including a solo home run to Carlos Beltran (his eighth this month…mercy). Hanson was relieved by Durbin, who retired Freese, then O’Flaherty, who struck out two to escape a bases loaded jam.
The Braves responded in the seventh with some more clutch hitting, as Prado drove in Pastornicky with two outs to bring the score to 4-1. Freeman and Uggla added back-to-back RBI doubles to give the Braves a solid 6-1 lead. Add on a Michael Bourn RBI bloop single in the eighth, and the Braves set the score to 7-1. Fredi set the bullpen to cruise control, turning the game over to Christhian Martinez. However, Martinez couldn’t get it done, allowing a monster three-run homer to left to Allen Craig and putting the Cardinals back within spitting distance. But their luck would end there, as Venters came on with two outs and promptly struck out Lance Berkman to record the save. The Braves took the game and the series from the defending World Champs.
Notes on today’s game:
- The Cardinals honored Chipper today with a signed picture of himself and a signed Stan Musial jersey presented by former Braves Rafael Furcal and Adam Wainwright. Cardinals fans greeted Chipper with a standing ovation and a warm reception (take notes, Dodgers fans…).
- The Braves and Cards used pink bats and bands today in honor of Mother’s Day, a day especially important to Freddie Freeman.
- Lance Lynn had given up just six runs all year, but he gave up three in one swing on Heyward’s three RBI double in the third. Lynn threw 121 pitches through six innings, the highest pitch count of his young career.
- Pastornicky recorded the first stolen base of his career. The Rev doesn’t get much of a chance to run hitting in front of the pitcher but wasted no time in the seventh with Chipper pinch hitting.
- Uggla’s RBI double in the seventh was the 200th of his career.
- Allen Craig’s ninth inning home run was his fifth in the last seven games.
- All of the Braves’ seven runs came with two outs, as Atlanta put on a clinic in timely hitting.