With Charlie Morton on the mound, the Braves sought their 80th win of 2022 and the series win over the Cardinals.
The first three innings were mostly quiet with only a few scattered baserunners. The Braves got things going in the fourth with three straight 100+ MPH batted balls, resulting in two singles and an oppo homer from Travis d’Arnaud to score the first three runs. A Wild Bill Contreras double and a Michael Harris chopper single added on a fourth before the inning was over. A walk and a homer brought two runs back for the Cardinals against Morton in the bottom of the fourth. The floodgates remained open in the fifth, as consecutive doubles that were nearly homers from Olson and Riley scored another run, making the score 5-2 Braves. The floodgates were open for both teams though, as an infield single and a blasted homer from the Cardinals’ two MVP candidates Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado brought two runs back for St. Louis.
The offenses quieted back down after the respective bullpens took over the game. Neither Morton nor Montgomery had a particularly good outing, both allowing 4 runs over 5.0 innings and only striking out 4. Morton allowed two home runs which really killed the outing.
The Braves threatened in the seventh, with soft singles from Riley and d’Arnaud to start off the inning, but it came to nothing. McChugh, Iglesias, and Minter worked three scoreless innings in relief of Morton, but Goldschmidt was due up in the ninth with Arenado lurking for Kenley Jansen, with only a one run lead. The Cardinals got a one out double from Donovan in front of Goldschmidt and Arenado just to raise our collective blood pressure. The runner advanced to third on a wild pitch before Kenley walked Goldy on five pitches, as he had no command. Kenley got up 0-2 on Arenado, despite throwing two pitches right down the middle, before hitting the third baseman to load the bases with one out. Kenley then got a soft chopper that turned into an RBI single to tie the game and this was massive trouble. Kenley then walked Tyler O’Neil on five pitches for the walk-off-walk. Two walks, a HBP, and a soft chopper turning to gold is a rough way to lose a baseball game, but alas. Join us tomorrow for the rubber-match.