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Cardinals fall short of sweep, out of first place

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Wacha struggled to miss bats, and the offense missed its big chance.

Atlanta Braves v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Lineup

Events

1st Inning

Ender Inciarte led the game off with a clean single through the right side of the infield on Wacha’s second pitch, and Brandon Phillips followed with a do-or-die, bunt single that Greg Garcia could not corral. But Wacha fought back and induced a big 6-4-3 double play from Freeman, and got Markakis to ground out to 2B. Despite the jam, he only threw 12 pitches, and induced 4 ground balls.

R.A. Dickey kept the Cardinals in check in the bottom half. He got Carpenter to ground out to 2B, before walking Tommy Pham. After he picked Pham off 1B, DeJong dunked his knuckleball to RF for a single, but he ultimately struck Martinez out looking at a low, borderline strike. He was at 21 pitches.

2nd Inning

Wacha breezed through his second frame. He got Flowers to line out to Pham in CF, then got a pair of ground outs to the right side off the bats of Santana and Albies. His pitch count was 25.

Dickey matched Wacha’s quick inning with one of his own. He struck out Grichuk swinging on a 65mph knuckle curve, got Wong to ground out to Freeman at 1B, and got Kelly to ground out to Phillips at 3B. He was at 30 pitches.

3rd Inning

Wacha kept rolling. He got Swanson to fly out to RF, and then got Dickey & Inciarte to ground out to 2B. Wacha was at 38 pitches.

The Cardinals tried getting something going in the 3rd. Greg Garcia worked a full count and smacked a lead-off single up the middle, and advanced to 2B on Wacha’s sac bunt. But Carpenter flew out to LCF, and Pham grounded out to 3B to end the threat. Dickey was at 45 pitches.

4th Inning

Wacha started getting under his pitches in the 4th. He got Phillips to ground out to SS, but Freeman singled on a hard line drive to CF, and Markakis followed with a soft line drive to CF. After Flowers walked to load the bases, Danny Santana singled through the right side to score one, and Albies knocked a sac fly to CF to score another. Swanson singled to RF to reload the bases, but Wacha retired Dickey on a come-backer to end the threat. His laborious inning bumped his pitch count to 68. 2-0 Braves.

DeJong led off with a single through the left side, but was negated by a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Martinez. Grichuk then muscled a single into short CF, but Wong flew out to LF. Dickey was at 56 pitches.

5th Inning

Inciarte turned a first-pitch fastball into a single to RF, and Phillips turned a first-pitch fastball into a 2-run HR into the Braves’ bullpen. Wacha recovered to strike out Freeman, get Markakis to ground out to SS, and get Flowers to pop out into foul territory. Wacha was at 82 pitches, but his day was through. 4-0 Braves.

Dickey kept cruising in the 5th. Carson Kelly gave one a ride to the track in CF, but was retired by Inciarte, and Garcia & Voit grounded out to end the inning. Dickey was at just 65 pitches.

6th Inning

Sam Tuivailala relieved Wacha. He would get Santana to fly out to LF, then Swanson to pop out to 3B and Dickey to ground out to 1B, after Albies dunked a single into LCF. Tuivailala threw 14 pitches.

Dickey just wouldn’t stop. He induced 3 ground balls in the 6th, with only Pham’s single to RF doing any good. Carpenter led off with a ground out to 1B, DeJong followed Pham with a fly out to RF, and Martinez ended the frame with a ground out to SS. Dickey was at 74 pitches.

7th Inning

Tuivailala returned for a second inning. Inciarte lined a lead-off single to LF, and promptly swiped 2B. Phillips advanced him to 3B with a come-backer when Tuivailala didn’t look him back and then, after Matheny walked Freeman, Markakis scored him with another come-backer when Tuivailala couldn’t turn the double play. Flower lined out to CF to end the inning. 5-0 Braves.

After Grichuk grounded out to 3B, Kolten Wong announced himself with a triple into the RF corner, and Carson Kelly flared a single to RF to drive him in. After Garcia walked, Fowler pinch hit and was called out on a ball off the plate, and Carpenter grounded out to 2B. Dickey was at 100 pitches and his afternoon was over.

8th Inning

Brett Cecil, desperately in need of a positive outing, relieved Tuivailala. He achieved just that, striking out Santana and Swanson around a pop out from Albies.

Jim Johnson relieved Dickey. He struck out Pham to start the inning, but DeJong received low-and-in fastball and crushed it into the back of the Braves’ bullpen. Jose Martinez followed with a grounder past a diving Swanson in the hole, and Grichuk lined a single of his own into LF to knock Johnson from the game. Old friend Sam Freeman was brought in to face Wong, who snuck a single under Albies’ glove and into RF to score Martinez. Snitker, channeling his inner Tony La Russa, decided to bring in Jose Ramirez to put out this sudden fire. After he hit Kelly and struck out Garcia, he battled Yadier Molina to a full count and got him to ground out to 3B on what would have been ball 4. 5-3 Braves.

9th Inning

John Brebbia relieved Cecil. Jace Peterson greeted him with a triple to LCF, and then scored when a change-up in the dirt scooted under Kelly’s glove. Brebbia then got Inciarte to ground out, Phillips to fly out to LF, and Markakis to strike out. 6-3 Braves.

Arodys Vizcaino entered to close it out. He got Carpenter to ground out to 2B, Pham to pop our to short RF, and DeJong to strike out swinging. Braves win 6-3.

Final Lines

Michael Wacha: 5.0IP, 4ER, 8H, 1K, 1BB, 1HR, 35 GSc

R.A. Dickey: 7.0IP, 1ER, 7H, 3K, 2BB, 0HR, 64 GSc

Notes

  • Tommy Pham has been picked off 5 times this season (by Rafael Montero, Jon Lester, Nick Pivetta, Homer Bailey, and now R.A. Dickey.)
  • Wacha recorded 9 outs among his 12 ground balls induced today. He recorded 15 outs and faced 23 batters.
  • This was Tuivailala’s 3rd appearance this month, matching his total from July.
  • Carson Kelly has not struck out yet this year, in 22 PA.