The Cardinals continued Sunday’s doubleheader with Atlanta, starting Kwang Hyun Kim across from Drew Smyly. Kim pitched a solid four innings with his only mistake resulting in a solo home run from Ronald Acuna, Jr. but was saddled with a hard-luck loss as the Cards’ bats went silent once again against Smyly and the Braves in the 1-0 loss.
Tommy Edman flew out to center to start game two. Dylan Carlson went down swinging on three pitches. Paul Goldschmidt grounded out to shortstop as the Cards were retired in order.
Ronald Acuna, Jr. led off for the Braves and drew a walk on a slider that missed inside. Freddie Freeman followed the walk with a routine flyout to center. Ozzie Albies popped out to second for the second out. Austin Riley grounded out to second to send the game to the second inning.
Nolan Arenado popped out to shortstop to begin the second. Tyler O’Neill drew a one-out walk on a 3-2 breaking ball that missed low. Edmundo Sosa struck out swinging under an elevated fastball. Paul DeJong was robbed of a hit on a nice diving stop by Freeman at first to end the top of the frame.
Dansby Swanson ripped a base hit past a diving Arenado to lead off the bottom of the frame. Abraham Almonte went down swinging, fooled by a low curveball. Guillermo Heredia lined out to short for out number two. Kevan Smith grounded out to first, stranding Swanson to end the inning.
Andrew Knizner flew a lazy fly ball to center for the first out of the third. Kim struck out on three pitches. Edman popped out to third as the Cards were retired quietly in the top of the third.
Smyly was called out on an 0-2 curveball that caught the zone for the first out. Acuna got a hold of a 2-0 slider and hit it just over the wall in left-center to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead.
Make it career home runs for @ronaldacunajr24!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/NpSyBrgjij— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 20, 2021
Freeman followed the home run with a groundout into the shift. Albies popped out to second for the final out.
Carlson kicked off the fourth with a groundout to third. Goldschmidt walked after a seven-pitch plate appearance. Arenado ripped a line drive straight to third for the second out. O’Neill drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and second for Sosa, who popped out to right to strand both runners.
Riley began the bottom half of the frame with an infield hit to Arenado. Swanson flew out to center for the first out. Almonte then grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
DeJong swung through a 2-2 breaking ball for a strikeout to start the fifth. Knizner flew out to right for the second out. Lane Thomas pinch-hit for Kim and flew out to center to put the Cards down in order again.
Ryan Helsley took the mound for St. Louis in the fifth and retired Heredia with a swinging strikeout. Smith struck out as well, chasing a ball in the dirt. Smyly beat out an infield hit as Sosa had trouble with the transfer and throw. Acuna was called out on three pitches to send the game to the sixth.
Edman led off the sixth and grounded out to third as the Cardinals were still seeking their first hit. Carlson struck out looking, frozen by a curveball in the zone. Goldschmidt grounded a curveball back up the middle and beat the wide throw from Albies for the Cards’ first hit of the game. Smyly was pulled in favor of Luke Jackson after the infield hit. Arenado singled on a hard ground ball that was knocked down by Riley but left the Braves with no play on the ball. O’Neill swung through a fastball to strike out and strand both runners.
Genesis Cabrera came in to get some work in the bottom of the sixth and retired Freeman with a swinging strikeout. Albies followed with a lineout to second. Strike three to Riley got past Knizner and hit off the backstop, and Knizner had to work around the home plate umpire to make the throw to first for the final out.
Not routine, but @A_Knizner still made the play! pic.twitter.com/iEAVa5wq7P— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 21, 2021
Sosa led off the seventh, facing Will Smith for the Braves, and flew out to left field. DeJong failed to check his swing on a ball in the dirt, striking out for the second out. Knizner went down chasing a slider that would have been ball four, making the 1-0 score the final in a win for Atlanta.
The Cards drop back to .500 at 36-36 as the Braves move up to 33-36. The Cards have an off day on Monday before traveling to Detroit to start a set with the Tigers on Tuesday. Johan Oviedo is slated to start across from Tarik Skubal in the opener of that series with the first pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM CT.
Final Pitching Lines
Kim (L, 1-5): 4 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 1 HR
Helsley: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 0 HR
Cabrera: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Smyly (W, 4-3): 5.2 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / 0 HR
Jackson (H, 8): 0.1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Smith (S, 13): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR