The woes continue for the Atlanta Braves who suffered another bullpen implosion in an 8-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves have now lost four straight and there lead in the NL East division is down to 5.5 over the Phillies.
Atlanta staked Anibal Sanchez to an early lead when Ronald Acuña Jr. drove a Austin Gomber fastball over the fence in right center. It was Acuña’s 26th home run in his 100th game of the season.
The lead would be short lived. Jose Martinez singled with one out off of Sanchez in the fourth and then came home to score on a two-run home run by Paul Dejong. That mistake aside, Sanchez was in control for most of the evening allowing just four hits while striking out nine over six innings. Sanchez didn’t walk a batter in his six innings of work which was huge given the Braves’ recent struggles in that department.
The Braves weren’t able to give him any support leaving runners at the corners in the second and the bases loaded in the third.
Brad Brach worked a scoreless inning in the seventh for the Braves but things came apart in the eighth. Brach retired Yairo Munoz to start the inning and was then replaced by Brian Snitker who opted to have left-hander Jonny Venters face Matt Carpenter.
Venters walked Carpenter on four pitches and advanced to third on a double by Martinez. Snitker then went to Dan Winkler who allowed a single to Dejong to score Carpenter and make it 3-1. Winkler then walked Marcell Ozuna to load the bases and was replaced by Sam Freeman. Freeman struck out Patrick Wisdom for the second out but then gave up a two-run single to Yadier Molina. The ball got through Acuña in left for an error allowing Ozuna to come all the way around and score making it 6-1.
St. Louis would tack on two more runs in the ninth against Bryse Wilson. Tyler O’Neill doubled home Munoz to make it 7-1. Two batters later, Ozuna brought home O’Neill with a hit to make it 8-1 and cap off the scoring for the evening.
Atlanta suffers another stinging loss with a combination of offensive futility with a lack of bullpen support late. The Braves left 12 men on and had their chances. Freddie Freeman accounted for three of the team’s seven hits.
The two teams will meet again on Wednesday in the series finale which features a 12:10 start. Touki Toussaint will get the call for Atlanta while Jack Flaherty is scheduled to pitch for the Cardinals.