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Folty falters, Braves fall to Cardinals 11-6

The Braves’ struggles at SunTrust continued Monday night.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals jumped on Mike Foltynewicz early on Monday night, and beat the Braves 12-6. Folty tied his shortest outing of the season as he failed to make it out of the fifth inning, and the Braves lost their third straight and the 13th of their last 17 home games.

Even with the loss, the Braves magic number fell to 7 with the Phillies’ loss to the Mets.

Folty’s breaking pitches lacked their usual bite, and he struggled to find the strike zone in one of his worst performances of the season. He allowed six earned runs over 4⅔ innings, walking four and only striking out two.

It wasn’t all bad, as Ronald Acuña scratched three hits and inched closer to .300, and Freddie Freeman homered for the first time since September 5.

The first inning set the tone for the rest of Folty’s night, as he put up one of the most labor-intensive frames of the season. After walking the bases loaded, he hit Yadier Molina to bring in the first run. Kolten Wong followed up the HBP with a two-run double, putting the Cards up 3-0. Folty had thrown 37 pitches by the time the first was over.

Freddie Freeman, whose recent offensive slump extended longer than we are used to seeing from him, brought the Braves back to win one in the 3rd inning, mashing a home run into the Braves’ bullpen. Freddie seems to be emerging from his slump little by little, but a fully functional Freddie Freeman is a must for this team if they are going to make any noise in the playoffs.

Wong struck again in top of the fourth inning, crushing a home run into the Chophouse and making it 4-2. The following inning, a Paul DeJong home run made it 6-2, and Folty was mercifully pulled.

The Braves chipped away at the lead in the 6th, as a Tyler Flowers sacrifice fly brought home two after an errant throw from Yairo Munoz sailed into oblivion and allowed Ender Inciarte to scamper home. The Braves were back within striking distance, 6-4. The intrigue mounted further in the 7th after Nick Markakis roped a double to right to cut the lead to 6-5.

However, it was not meant to be, as Jesse Biddle’s control issues in the 8th gave way to a three-run home run by Harrison Bader, staking the Cards to a 9-5 lead. This continued a trend that has consumed Braves pitching recently.

An RBI single from Acuña in the 8th - his third hit of the night - knocked a run off the deficit and made it 9-6. It looked as if the Braves were mounting another of their trademark late-inning comebacks, but Freeman struck out with the bases loaded to end the rally.

Arodys Vizcaino came on to pitch the 9th inning, and despite striking out three, he surrendered a two-run home run to Yadier Molina to stretch the lead to 11-6. The Braves went quietly in their half of the 9th.

These two teams will tangle again tomorrow, with first pitch coming at 7:35pm ET.

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