Things didn’t get off to a good start for Drew Smyly who retired Tommy Edman but was then nearly lit up by a line drive off the bat of Dylan Carlson that went for an infield single. The ball was 99 mph off the bat and Smyly just did get his glove on it to protect himself. The trainers came out to check on him but he stayed in the game, but it appeared to rattle him a bit. Paul Goldschmidt singled on the next pitch to bring up Nolan Arenado. Smyly fell behind 3-1 in the count and then left a curveball up that Arenado deposited to left center for a three-run home run.
Smyly settled in from there and retired seven straight before Arenado doubled in the third. Tyler O’Neil worked a walk but Smyly retired Yadier Molina on a fly out to strand the runners.
The Braves finally got on the board in the fourth as Dansby Swanson reached on an infield single with one out. Swanson stole second and then came around to score on a double by Guillermo Heredia to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Smyly allowed an infield single to Harrison Bader to lead off the fourth but retired the next three hitters in order to leave him stranded. That would be it for Smyly as Brian Snitker would call on Abraham Almonte to pinch hit to begin the fifth. Almonte struck out and then Ozzie Albies flew out to left for the second out. Jorge Soler would make sure the Braves wouldn’t go away empty handed though as he blasted a home run to straight away center to cut the lead to 3-2.
Smyly exited the game having allowed six hits and three runs in four innings. He walked one and struck out two while throwing 75 pitches. Richard Rodriguez came on to face the heart of the Cardinals order and retired Carlson, Goldschmidt and Arenado on just nine pitches.
The Braves would move in front in the sixth. Swanson got things started again with a solid single to center with one out off of reliever Ryan Helsley. That would bring Adam Duvall to the plate who would square up a high fastball and drive it out to left for a two-run home run to give Atlanta the lead 4-3.
Tyler Matzek pitched around a two-out walk while striking out two of the four batters he faced in a scoreless sixth.
Chris Martin quickly found himself in a jam in the seventh. Pinch hitter Matt Carpenter began the inning with a solid single to center. Martin then jumped ahead of Tommy Edman 0-2 but then hit him with a 2-2 pitch to put runners at first and second. After Carlson flew out to left for the first out of the inning, the Cardinals pulled off a double steal on Martin’s first pitch to Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt then lifted a fly ball to Soler in right, Carpenter tagged and scored on the play to tie the game back up at 4-4. Martin would escape further damage as Arenado grounded out to Riley to end the inning.
The Braves went back to work in the eighth as Austin Riley led off the inning with a single off of Giovanny Gallegos and then moved all the way to third on another hit by Swanson. Adam Duvall struck out for the first out but Heredia worked a walk to load the bases. Stephen Vogt fell behind in the count but lifted a sacrifice fly to center that scored Riley to put Atlanta back in front 5-4.
Joc Pederson would then pinch-hit in the pitchers spot and would hit a sharp line drive to right that caromed off Carlson’s glove in right. Carlson and Bader then collided trying to pick it up as Swanson and Heredia scored on the play to extend the lead to 7-4.
Luke Jackson hit Tyler O’Neill to begin the eighth but then retired the next three hitters in order to close out the frame. Will Smith retired the side in order in the ninth to seal the win.
With the win, Atlanta climbs back to the .500 mark for the first time since July 10 at 54-54. They will try to complete the sweep when the series concludes Thursday night.