Coming off an day of rest, the National League Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals headed south to Atlanta to begin a three game series against the Braves to close out what has been an unbelievable regular season. Entering the series, they were 100-59, and not only secured the division, but also the best record in the National League.
For this series with Atlanta, while they still are attempting to win games (who wouldn’t?), the more important goal for the St. Louis Cardinals organization, while they try to plan out the postseason roster, is to stay healthy as the playoffs approach.
The starting pitchers for Friday’s game were Jaime Garcia (10-5, 2.36 ERA) and b (10-8, 4.16 ERA.
It was a scoreless battle between the two teams, until the Braves got on the board in the bottom of the third inning. First, Daniel Castro hit a solo home run to make it 1-0 Atlanta. That was followed by back-to-back singles from Nick Markakis and Adonis Garcia to put two on for former Cardinals catcher A.J Pierzynski. The veteran catcher responded with a double to score Markakis, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
Garcia did not pitch long in the game, but not because of any struggles throughout the evening; it was to ensure the left-hander would remain well-rested and healthy heading into the postseason. His final line for the evening: 4 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks.
There were plenty of sputters when it came to the Cardinals offense on the evening, most notably in the fifth inning, when they had the bases loaded and nobody out, yet scored no runs in the end of it all.
In the sixth inning, Adam Wainwright made his second relief appearance of the season, and for the second time, threw a scoreless inning as the Cardinals still trailed 2-0 in the game. Atlanta held that 2-0 lead, and in the bottom of the eighth inning, added to that lead with Randy Choate on the mound. Castro hit a triple that scored Freddie Freeman, and Markakis followed with a single to score Castro, making it a 4-0 game, which turned out to be the final score.
John Lackey will make his final start of the regular season on Saturday night.
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)