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Cardinals complete sweep over Braves with extra-innings win

Tommy Pham’s two-run homer in the 14th inning lifted St. Louis to the sweep.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Pham belted a pitch from Josh Collmenter deep into the spectators beyond left field for a two-run home run in the 14th inning, as the St. Louis Cardinals completed a sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 6-4 win on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park.

Collmenter served up the homer immediately after Magneuris Sierra reached on an error by Jace Peterson, making the Braves’ comeback from a 4-0 deficit moot. Pham finished 4-for-5, with a pair of bombs and three RBIs.

As has become habit lately, the Braves got behind the 8-ball early on Sunday when Matt Carpenter hit a solo home run in the first inning to get the scoring started.

The Cardinals plated three more in the third on the strength of a Tommy Pham homer, back-to-back doubles from Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk, and another double from Jedd Gyroko to take a 4-0 lead in the third inning.

Braves starter R.A. Dickey settled down after that and hurled six innings, allowing eight hits and four runs, with two walks and two strikeouts.

Michael Wacha was nearly unhittable, as the Braves racked up just one hit in their first two trips through the lineup. But the third time proved to be the charm and they cut the deficit in half with a productive sixth inning.

Consecutive singles from Ender Inciarte and Adonis Garcia led to Freddie Freeman’s RBI double and got the Braves on the board in the sixth inning to make it 4-1. Matt Kemp followed with a single to score Garcia to cut the gap to 4-2.

Wacha allowed five hits and two runs in his six innings of work.

Atlanta tacked on single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to tie the game. Dansby Swanson came through in a big spot with a run-scoring single in the seventh, and Freeman came through with a homer to left-center field in the eighth to make it 4-4 and drive in his second run of the day.

The score remained deadlocked at 4-4 into extra innings. The Braves had a great chance to put the contest away in the 11th, as they loaded the bases on a hit and two walks. Inciarte pulled a grounder down the first base line, and Carpenter fielded the ball and tossed to the pitcher covering. Inciarte was called out, and replay showed that both players touched first base almost simultaneously and the call stood after a review.

Garcia singled to lead off the 12th and Freeman followed with an infield single, but Kemp grounded into a double play to leave Garcia at third base with two outs. Nick Markakis was walked intentionally and took second before Kurt Suzuki struck out to end the threat.

Atlanta’s bullpen was outstanding with the exception of Collmenter, as Sam Freeman, Arodys Vizcaino, Jim Johnson, Ian Krol, Jose Ramirez and Jason Motte all hurled hitless innings in relief. Eric O’Flaherty worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless 12th inning.

Inciarte, Garcia, Freeman and Kemp — the Braves’ first four hitters — all registered two hits in the game.

The Braves will take the day off Monday before beginning a brief two-game series with the Houston Astros on Tuesday. They finished the homestand 1-5 and on a four-game losing streak.

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