Freeman Delivers in Ninth, but Rally Falls Short

Led by a surging offense and a solid outing by Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals made it eight in a row on Saturday night with a 6-5 victory over the Braves at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis extended its season-long winning streak to eight games and took the series win despite a comeback attempt by the Braves in the ninth inning. The Cardinals have won all five of their games against the Braves this season.

Atlanta looked to be in command of the game early, establishing a two-run lead in the first. The Cardinals responded quickly, however, scoring a run in the each of the first two innings, including a game-tying solo homer by Randal Grichuk, his 15th of the year.
The Redbirds’ offense kicked into high gear in the fourth inning, taking a commanding three-run lead after Lucas Sims hit two batters and gave up three hits. Sims finished his third career start after 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 10 hits.
Brandon Phillips responded with a solo home run in the fifth to bring the Braves within two. But once again the Cardinals responded when Paul DeJong hit his team-leading 17th home run of the year. The three-run deficit looked to be insurmountable until Trevor Rosenthal gave up two runs in the ninth. The closer held on, however, to earn his seventh straight save.
Martinez gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings, with seven strikeouts, to earn his ninth win.
After surrendering back-to-back singles in the first inning, Martinez walked Nick Markakis to load the bases with just one out. He then allowed the Braves to take the lead on Kurt Suzuki’s two-run single. But the right-hander was able to limit the damage by setting down the next two batters, including a strikeout of Ozzie Albies. Martinez has now allowed runs in the opening inning of seven of his past eight starts.
The Cardinals offense got a huge boost in the fourth inning. With one out and a runner on third, Martinez assisted his own cause by hitting an RBI single that extended the inning. He also had an impressive dash to home plate from second on Tommy Pham’s RBI single to score the third run of the inning and give the Cardinals a three-run lead.