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Braves @ Cardinals 7.26 recap - Cards fail to secure sweep

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Wacha not sharp; offense not good in series finale against the Braves

Adonis Garcia's sixth-inning solo homer proves to be game winner
Adonis Garcia's sixth-inning solo homer proves to be game winner
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Atlanta Braves @ St. Louis Cardinals

Matt Wisler (4-1, 3.60 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 1.314 WHIP) vs. Michael Wacha (11-3, 3.20 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 1.104 WHIP)
1:15 p.m. CT 
Busch Stadium - St. Louis, Missouri

Today's Lineups -

Some News -

Things we were looking for -

Stephen Piscotty gets his first start at first base.  It's a loaded bench- Yadi gets the day off as does Jhonny.  Tony Cruz and Pete Kozma represent the fearsome bottom of the lineup.

Things that happened -

Top halves -

After two quick outs, Pete Kozma let a tough hop eat him up, allowing Nick Markakis to reach on an error.  Wacha also walked Freeman after running up a full count.  Michael got through the inning with no damage, but it took 25 pitches to do it.

The Braves struck first in the second inning.   Eury Perez worked a walk with an assist from the umpire (on what could have/should have been strike three), and then was chased around to score on a Ryan Lavarnway double into the left field corner.  A couple batters later (after another walk), Cameron Maybin helped the Braves tally another, singling in Lavarnway. Braves lead 2-0.

In the third, Wacha gave up a couple singles (Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons), but no more, helped by a double play ground ball to end the inning.

Wacha had his first 1-2-3 in the fourth, striking out Lavarnway, and getting fly outs from Wisler and Jase Peterson.

Another 1-2-3 in the fifth for Wacha.

Adonis Garcia put the Braves back on top leading off the sixth, sending a line drive homer just over the wall and just over the glove of Heyward.  Braves lead 3-2.

That was it for Wacha.  His line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 99 pitches.

Sam Tuivailala took over in the seventh.  He let Wisler on via lead-off walk, but then got two outs before he gave way to Randy Choate.  Choate allowed an infield single to Markakis but was able to retire Freeman to end the inning.

New Cardinal Steve Cishek made his debut for the birds in the eighth.  It can be labeled a success, only allowing a single to Simmons.   He also had a wayward pick-off throw that got the runner to second.

Miguel Socolovich pitched the ninth.  He, like the rest of the Cardinal relievers, gave up a baserunner, an infield single to Maybin, but didn't allow him to score.

Bottom halves -

Kolten Wong led off with a line drive single to right field.  Matts Carpenter and Holliday both hit balls hard, but into gloves of outfielders.  Jason Heyward doubled the opposite way.  Unfortunately, it was hit hard enough that the left fielder was able to cut it off before Wong could come around to score.  Grichuk struck out to leave the runners on second and third.

Wisler used 11 pitches to get three outs out of Stephen Piscotty, Tony Cruz and Pete Kozma in the second.  He had a similarly efficient third, using 10 pitches to mow through Wacha, Wong, and Carpenter.

In the fourth, Matt Holliday walked to lead off, and then the Cards got a break when Jase Peterson couldn't transfer the ball out of his glove to turn a double play off the bat of Heyward.  Then a couple singles (Grichuk, Piscotty) later, we got a good old fashioned replay on a play at the plate.  The question was whether or not Heyward got in before the tag, and also, was Lavarnway blocking the plate?  After a 5 minute review, the folks in New York reversed the "out" call on the field, concluding that Heyward got in before the tag.  Braves lead 2-1.

Wong led of the fifth with a double, taking advantage of Markakis playing too deep in right field.  Carpenter almost beat out an infield hit, and would have had Freeman not made an outstanding dig at first.  Holliday followed with a double of his own down into the right field corner, scoring Wong and tying the game 2-2.

Piscotty collected an infield single to lead off the sixth.  Kozma pop-bunted into a double play to end the inning.

A Carpenter walk was the only baserunner for Wisler in the seventh to end his impressive day.  His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 100 pitches.

Arodys Viscaino pitched the eighth, and issued a walk to Piscotty, but converted outs from Heyward, Peter Bourjos, and Tony Cruz.

The ninth featured the big Cardinals bench bats as pinch hitters.  Yadier Molina grounded out, Jhonny Peralta grounded out.  Wong singled to give some hope to the hometown faithful, and then Carpenter dashed those hopes, flying out to end the game.  Braves win 3-2.

Final Notes -


  • Bourjos switched into center straight-up for Grichuk in the seventh.  Everyone was confused about the non-double switch, and were hypothesizing that there is something wrong with Grichuk.
  • The Kozma/Cruz combo in the 7/8 spots performed exactly like you'd expect them to offensively.
  • Wacha struggled to throw quality strikes the whole game.  It was a classic "battle without your best stuff" sort of day.  That's three of those in a row for him, I think?  I'm not encouraged.
  • Fangraphs
  • Gamenotes: BravesCards

Looking ahead -

Tune in tomorrow as the Cueto-less Reds come to Busch to take on the Birds.  Raisel Iglesias takes on Lance Lynn tomorrow at 7:15 CT.  We'll also get to see Jaime Garcia back in the rotation on Tuesday, and likely Jordan Walden back in the bullpen.