Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas struggled on Opening Day and the Braves didn’t give him an opportunity to get comfortable. Ronald Acuña Jr. got things started by beating out a routine ground ball to shortstop Tommy Edman for an infield single. He then motored around the bases as Matt Olson dropped in a double for a 1-0 lead.
Austin Riley followed by grounding a 1-2 pitch into center to score Olson to extend the lead to 2-0.
After a fly out by Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Harris singled to right to put runners at the corners. Harris stole second and then Ozzie Albies lifted a sacrifice fly to left that scored Riley to make it 3-0.
Atlanta added another run against Mikolas in the second when Olson took him deep to center for his third home run of the season.
The Braves extended the lead to 5-0 in the fourth as Acuña singled with two outs and then scored from first again as Olson doubled to the right field corner.
Given an early lead, Bryce Elder kept the Cardinals at bay through the early going. Elder walked Brandon Donovan to start the first, but then got Alec Burleson to ground into a double play. He then hit Paul Goldschmidt, but got Nolan Arenado to ground out to end the inning.
Elder then retired eight straight before walking Goldschmidt with one out in the fourth. He then struck out Arenado looking for the second out. Nolan Gorman then dropped a single in between Eddie Rosario, Riley and Arcia for a single. Rosario then made a heads up play throwing home to nab Goldschmidt at the plate for the final out of the inning.
Elder retired the side in order in the fifth and then the first two hitters in the sixth before Burleson rapped a solid single to right. He then walked Goldschmidt on four pitches, but then struck out Arenado again to end the inning.
It was an excellent outing for Elder who was staked to an early lead and then attacked the strike zone for most of the afternoon. He allowed just two hits and three walks over six scoreless, to go along with six strikeouts.
Michael Tonkin replaced Elder in the seventh and allowed the first home run of rookie Jordan Walker’s career to put the Cardinals on the board.
Jordan Walker's first MLB homer! pic.twitter.com/ACTLDPVk41— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 5, 2023
Dylan Lee allowed a one-out walk to Brandon Donovan in the eighth. He retired Willson Contreras on a fly out and then gave way to Collin McHugh. Goldschmidt then lifted a deep fly to center that Harris made a leaping grab on at the wall to end the inning.
McHugh stayed in for the ninth and allowed a single to Arenado to open the frame. Gorman then lined to Olson who tagged Arenado for a double play. However, McHugh then allowed back-to-back doubles to Dylan Carlson and Walker to cut Atlanta’s lead to 5-2. Brian Snitker would then bring on Jesse Chavez who got Edman to pop out to end the game.
Atlanta goes 5-1 on its opening trip and will be at home Thursday where they will begin a four-game series against the San Diego Padres.