Having lost an early two-run lead, the Braves got a jolt when Garcia connected for his first home run in his fourth career game. Cardinals starter Michael Wacha (11-4) served up the blast in the final inning of his six-inning start.
“To drive a ball out of the ballpark, especially in this ballpark, which is a fair ballpark, into the right-field bullpen, that’s some pop,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Ryan Lavarnway and Cameron Maybin tallied RBI singles off Wacha in the second.
“Early on, I was just having a little trouble finding the strike zone, leaving some balls up in the zone,” Wacha said. “[I] gave up an 0-2 hit [to Maybin] that drove in a run. I’ve got to do a better job with those counts and being able to put them away and not give those up.”
Braves starter Matt Wisler picked up his fifth win in seven career starts by limiting the Cardinals to two runs over seven innings. The Cards peppered the rookie for seven hits, but they had three innings end with a runner stranded at third.
After a weekend full of offensive frustration, the Braves cobbled together a pair of second-inning runs. Lavarnway doubled home Eury Perez, then Maybin singled home Lavarnway, who has hit safely in all seven games he’s played in since the Braves acquired him from Baltimore in June. Atlanta also benefited from a pair of walks in the second.
“That was nice to kind of break the ice there,” Gonzalez said. “We had some nice at-bats against Wacha. … He kind of settled in a little bit and gave his team an opportunity to win the game, but we had some good at-bats. We really did.”
Wacha wobbly: Though he did last long enough to throw six innings for the 14th time this season, Wacha labored early. He threw 51 pitches over the first two innings and allowed eight baserunners (three via walks) in the first three. Over his last three starts (17 innings), Wacha has allowed 13 runs.
“There were a couple things that happened today that would have made that look radically different,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “Some of those are outside his control. That’s pitching, too. You’re going to have plays not happen. You’re going to have calls not go your way. You have to figure out a way to get through it.”
When the Braves called up Garcia on Saturday, Gonzalez admitted he knew little more about the 30-year-old Cuban than that he wielded a potent bat. Atlanta was in need of one, having just traded Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, and Garcia came through with his first career home run to put the Braves ahead 3-2 in the sixth.
“I’m twice as happy now that I hit a home run,” Garcia said through a translator. “I accomplished my dream by getting up here to the big leagues, and I’m just happy that I was able to help the team win as well.” The Cardinals tied the game in the fifth with a pair of doubles. Kolten Wong stretched a single into a two-base hit to lead off the inning, then moved to third on a groundout and scored easily when Matt Holliday sliced a double into the right-field corner. The Cards rank second in the National League with 174 doubles.
In his first start since injuring his wrist on June 17, Braves All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman went 1-for-4 with a broken-bat single in the third inning.
Former Baltimore outfielder Nick Markakis and the Braves continue a 10-game road trip when they open a three-game set on Monday night against the Orioles at 6:05 CT, with left-hander Alex Wood on the mound. Thunder Radio will bring you the broadcast beginning at 6:00 PM.