Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Braves 5
By Rob Rains
Trailing by a run in the ninth inning on Saturday night, the Cardinals were two outs away from doing something they hadn’t done in more than a month – lose two games in a row.
That streak is still alive.
A double by Brendan Donovan ignited a rally that ended on a bases-loaded walk to Tyler O’Neill as the Cardinals scored twice against Braves closer Kenley Jansen to pull out the win at Busch Stadium.
After Donovan’s double, he went to third on a wild pitch before Jansen walked Paul Goldschmidt and hit Nolan Arenado on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases. There was no play on Corey Dickerson’s high chopper to short that brought in the tying run, setting up the walk-off walk to O’Neill.
O’Neill also had a walkoff RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded on Aug. 16. According to Stats by Stats, he is the first player to have two walkoff RBIs in the same month without hitting the ball since 1988 (Tracy Jones of the Reds).
The Cardinals maintained their 6-game division lead over the Brewers with the win. The last time they lost consecutive games was July 24-26, their longest losing streak since before the All-Star break.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Trailing 4-0 in the fourth, the Cardinals cut the lead to 4-2 on a home run by Andrew Knizner. After the Braves added another run, Arenado’s two-run homer in the fifth made it a 5-4 game …Arenado was 4-of-4 in his first game back from paternity leave, including his 27th homer of the year, a double and two singles … Knizner’s homer was only the fourth of the year by a a Cardinals’ catcher with Yadier Molina hitting the other two, the last coming on May 15 – a streak of 92 games without a home run by a catcher. The only team with fewer home runs out of the catcher’s spot this season is the Mets, with three.
On the mound: Jordan Montgomery, who had allowed only one run in his first 28 innings with the Cardinals, gave up four runs in the fourth, the big blow a three-run homer by Travis d’Arnaud … JoJo Romero relieved Montgomery after a leadoff walk in the sixth and retired the next three Braves, the last two on strikeouts … After working a perfect seventh, Jordan Hicks gave up consecutive singles to open the eighth but then was able to get the next three outs … Ryan Helsley, also making his first appearance since his wife gave birth to their first child, worked a 1-2-3 ninth, recording two strikeouts.
Key stat: The win was only the third for the Cardinals this season when they had been trailing after eight innings. They had been 2-37 in those games.
Worth noting: The Cardinals had lost 10 of their previous 11 games against the Braves at Busch Stadium, dating back to 2017 … It was the first blown save for Jansen since June 26 … With Arenado returning to the active roster after missing only one game, Juan Yepez was optioned back to Memphis … The Cardinals also shuffled lefthanded relievers, sending the slumping Genesis Cabrera to Memphis and bringing back Zack Thompson … Matt Holliday, Julian Javier and the late Charles Comiskey were inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame before the game.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will get the start on Sunday night in the final game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains