Wednesday’s Game Report: Braves 7, Cardinals 4

Wednesday’s Game Report: Braves 7, Cardinals 4

By Rob Rains

Giovanny Gallegos has been one of the Cardinals most reliable relievers this season, especially at home, but he picked a bad time to have an off night on Wednesday.

Brought into a 4-4 game in the eighth inning, Gallegos gave up three runs and the Braves beat the Cardinals for the second night in a row.

Gallegos had allowed only one run in his previous 15 outings at Busch Stadium dating back to May 8.

Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out before Steven Vogt’s sacrifice fly put the Braves ahead. Joc Pederson followed with a double when Dylan Carlson failed to make a sliding catch, and when the ball kicked away from him and Harrison Bader as they both tried to pick it up, two more runs scored.

The loss spoiled the Cardinals debut of J.A. Happ, who allowed two runs over five innings, leaving the game with a 3-2 lead.

Here is how Wednesday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: Nolan Arenado staked the Cardinals to a 3-0 lead in the first with his 21st homer of the season … They had just two hits after the first inning before Matt Carpenter’s pinch-hit single leading off the seventh. Carpenter later scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Paul Goldschmidt … Tyler O’Neill reached base three times on a single, a walk and when he was hit by a pitch but he has just two homers in his last 164 plate appearances dating back to June 11 … Yadier Molina was 0-of-4 and does not have an extra base hit in his last 77 at-bats since July 3 … Paul DeJong struck out twice as he also was 0-of-4. He is hitless in his last 14 at-bats with seven strikeouts, dropping his average for the season back to .198.

On the mound: Happ allowed five hits over his five innings, including a home run by Jorge Soler. Soler, who also homered on Tuesday night, now has seven homers in 23 career games at Busch (19 starts) … A two-run homer by Adam Duvall off Ryan Helsley gave the Braves the lead in the sixth … It was just the second homer allowed by Helsley at home this season … Gallegos had allowed a total of five runs in 28 2/3 innings at home this year prior to Wednesday night.

Key stat: Dansby Swanson became the first Braves player to have a four-hit game in St. Louis since Michael Bourn on Sept. 9, 2011. He also scored three times.

Worth noting: The Cardinals announced their 2022 season schedule on Wednesday. They will open the season on March 31 in Pittsburgh, with the home opener, also against the Pirates, set for Thursday, April 7. The interleague schedule includes a home series against the Yankees and Orioles, with road trips to Boston and Tampa Bay … Jack Flaherty will make his third and likely final rehab start on Friday night in Springfield. He is expected to throw around 75 pitches … Miles Mikolas will have at least one and perhaps two more starts in the minors before rejoining the rotation.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will start a lefthander for the third consecutive game against the Braves, Wade LeBlanc, in the final game of the series on Thursday night.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out Rob Rains, Editor.