Duvall, Soler home runs power Braves past Cardinals 7-4
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler homered, and Stephen Vogt drove in the eventual game-winning run with a sacrifice fly as the Atlanta Braves beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4 on Wednesday night.
Dansby Swanson went 4 for 4 with three runs scored for the Braves, who moved to .500 at 54-54.
“That was a really good win for us,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “All the guys we acquired were instrumental to making that happen. A lot of really good things happened tonight.”
Will Smith, the sixth Braves pitcher, picked up his 22nd save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The win helped Atlanta post its first two-game winning streak since the All-Star break. The Braves have won eight of their last nine games at Busch Stadium.
Giovanny Gallegos (5-4) allowed three runs in the eighth inning as the Cardinals lost for the sixth time in 10 games. St. Louis dropped a game below .500 at 53-54.
“Look, we’ve got a guy we love to death and has done a tremendous for us for several years,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said about Gallegos. “They put together some tough at-bats. They scratched and clawed.”
With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, Vogt hit a fly to deep center, easily scoring Austin Riley. Pinch-hitter Joc Pederson, acquired in a recent trade with the Cubs, hit a line-drive double to right, plating two insurance runs.
“I was just trying to get a pitch I could drive,” Pederson said. “He’s kind of had my number in the past. I wanted to get the barrel of the bat on the ball. We’re all getting on the same page so we can put together a streak.”
The Cardinals tied the game 4-4 in the seventh on a sacrifice fly to right field by Paul Goldschmidt. Chris Martin (1-3) failed to check on two runners, who pulled off a double steal to set up the scoring play.
The Braves scored four unanswered runs to go up 4-3. Duvall hit his 23rd homer of the season off reliever Ryan Helsley after Swanson hit his third single in the sixth.
“The count was 3-1. He’s thrown me four straight fastballs,” Duvall said. “I was looking for something up. He threw a slider up and that’s what we’ve been working on — to be able to handle that pitch and it worked out.”
Atlanta had cut the Cardinals’ lead to 3-2 in the fifth on a two-out homer by Soler, who was picked up from the Kansas City Royals last week. Soler also had a two-run homer in Tuesday’s game.
“A guy like that is such a threat every time he comes up,” Snitker said. “I like having him in there.”
The Braves scored a run on a two-out double by Guillermo Heredia in the fourth.
Nolan Arenado, who also doubled, hit a three-run homer in the first inning. His 21st home run of the season off starter Drew Smyly scored Dylan Carlson and Goldschmidt, who singled ahead of Arenado.
“We weren’t able to tack on many runs after that,” Arenado said. “It’s always great to score early and have the lead, but at the same time you’re facing a great team like the Braves. It probably didn’t affect them as much because there was so much game left. You have to give credit to them.”
J.A. Happ made his first start for St. Louis since he was acquired from Minnesota at the trade deadline last week. Happ’s debut gave St. Louis its 10th different left-hander to pitch this season, tying the 1993 Cardinals for most in single-season franchise history.
In his previous start, Happ allowed nine runs on 10 hits through three innings to the Detroit Tigers. He was more effective this time, allowing Atlanta five hits and two runs.
HALL OF FAME WRITER HONORED
Hall of Fame reporter Rick Hummel threw out an honorary first pitch to Cardinals legend Willie McGee before the game. Hummel is celebrating his 50th anniversary of working at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this season.
THAT’S A SWITCH
With an infield single in the first, Carlson (100 hits) and Tommy Edman (106) became the first pair of Cardinals switch-hitters with 100-plus hits in a season since Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal did it in 2012.
The Braves faced their third consecutive left-handed pitcher Wednesday after seeing Brett Anderson and Jon Lester in the previous games. It will be four in a row Thursday when Wade LeBlanc makes his scheduled start against Atlanta. … St. Louis is lining up four left-handers in its rotation in the same week for the first time since July 15-18, 1995.
Braves: RHP Ian Anderson (right shoulder) is expected to make at least two rehab starts now that he has been cleared to throw a rehab assignment since being sidelined during the All-Star break with right shoulder inflammation.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (oblique) will make his third rehab start Friday in Double-A Springfield. He will get up to 75 pitches. His previous two rehab appearances were for Triple-A Memphis. He suffered a torn oblique May 31 at Dodger Stadium.
Braves: RHP Touki Toussaint (1-2, 4.76) last defeated St. Louis on July 19, 2018, when he threw 5 2/3 innings in a 7-3 victory.
Cardinals: LHP Wade LeBlanc (0-2, 4.17) will be making his 13th career appearance and fifth start against the Braves. He threw a season-high 85 pitches and matched his season-high with 5 2/3 innings pitched in taking a no decision in the Cardinals 5-1 win in his last start.
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