A five-run ninth inning helped the St. Louis Cardinals put away the Braves 12-7 in Atlanta in a game that saw Braves reliever Daniel Winkler suffer an apparent elbow injury after pitching a scoreless inning in Sunday's National League MLB match-up.While the Cardinals came into Sunday's game with a 2-3 record, looking to pull themselves out of last place in the NL Central, the Braves hoped to end their streak as the last team in the National League without a win. Unfortunately for Atlanta, it looks like they lost more than just the game on Sunday. As reported by CBS Sports, RHP Daniel Winkler had Tommy John surgery in 2014, and he may very well have aggravated that injury on Sunday.
Winkler entered the game in the top of the 6th with two outs and the bases loaded. He struck out Jeremy Hazelbaker to end the inning, and the first two Cardinals batters in the seventh grounded out. Winkler fell to the ground in pain, however, after throwing a pitch behind Randal Grichuk. At the time of this writing, there was no word on the extent of the injury.But things didn't start out so bad for Atlanta on Sunday. The Braves got off to an early lead when Nick Markakis hit a double and earned the first RBI of the game when Erick Aybar crossed the plate to put the Braves up 1-0 in the bottom of the first.
After both teams failed to score a run in the second inning, St. Louis took a commanding lead after they finished the top of the third with four runs. Greg Garcia scored a run for St. Louis off of a Stephen Piscotty single. With two runners on, Brandon Moss followed that up by hitting a three-run home run. The Cardinals lead the Braves 4-1 after three innings.By the end of the fourth inning, however, Atlanta fought back when Drew Stubbs hit a three-run homer of his own. Heading into the fifth inning, the score was tied 4-4.
After the Braves took the lead by scoring one in the bottom of the fifth (Hector Olivera hit a sacrifice fly allowing Markakis to score for Atlanta), the Cardinals tied things back up in the top of the sixth. Grichuk registered the fifth run of the game for St. Louis off of a single by Garcia. Atlanta kept at them, however, and regained a one-run lead when Markakis hit a ground-rule double that allowed Gordon Beckham to score.After a scoreless seventh inning, the Braves still had a one-run lead over the Cardinals. But in the top of the eighth inning, St. Louis took the lead back for the first time since the fourth inning and went into the ninth with a 7-6 lead over Atlanta, thanks to RBIs from Hazelbaker and Piscotty.
And the Cardinals came out swinging (literally) in the final inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Aledmys Diaz batted in two runs off of a double. Up next, Matt Carpenter hit the third three-run homer of the game.Atlanta's Olivera scored in the bottom of the ninth when Aybar reached first with the bases loaded thanks to a fielding error by Kolten Wong. It was not enough, however, as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves by a final score of 12-7.
Seung Hwan Oh was awarded his first MLB win for pitching just one inning with two strikeouts. Atlanta's Jim Johnson earned his first loss of the season after giving up three hits and two earned runs in just 1.1 innings. With four strikeouts and one earned run in 1.1 innings, Trevor Rosenthal earned his second save of the season for St. Louis.After Sunday's loss, the Atlanta Braves remain tied with the Minnesota Twins for the worst record in Major League Baseball, now standing at 0-5. Meanwhile, despite a.500 record of 3-3, the Cardinals are still tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for last place in the traditionally competitive NL Central.
St. Louis will have a chance to break that tie and move out of last place when the Milwaukee Brewers begin a three-game series against the Cardinals on Monday. Already revisiting their first opponents of the year, the Atlanta Braves begin a four-game series in Washington on Monday against the Nationals.
[Image via MLB]