Cardinals put three-game winning streak on line vs. Braves

MLB

The Atlanta Braves scored 16 runs in two games against Boston and lost both times. The St. Louis Cardinals scored only seven runs in their three-game series against Miami but came away with a sweep.

The two teams open a four-game series in Atlanta on Thursday. The Cardinals have won three straight, but they’re 4-9 since June 2. The Braves have dropped six of their last seven and fallen to a season-worst five games under .500.

“Our guys have got to compartmentalize and do their own job, whatever that is,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “We’re doing too many stupid things. This game is hard enough without doing stupid things. You can’t beat yourself.”

It is the first meeting of the season between the two teams, who did not play in 2020. The clubs met in the 2019 National League Division Series, which St. Louis won.

The series opener will feature Atlanta’s Charlie Morton (5-3, 4.50 ERA) against St. Louis’ John Gant (4-4, 3.36).

Morton will make his 14th start of the season. He had his three-start winning streak snapped on Friday when he lost at Miami, allowing four runs in four innings.

Morton has not fared well against St. Louis throughout his career. In 18 starts against the Cardinals, Morton is 2-12 with a 5.68 ERA. He hasn’t beaten St. Louis since April 4, 2011, when he was with Pittsburgh. He did not face the Cardinals in 2020.

Gant played for the Braves in 2016 and was traded to the Cardinals in a deal for pitcher Jaime Garcia. He will be making his fourth career appearance and second start against the Braves and is 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA in the first three.

In his last appearance against the Braves, he struck out four batters in 1 1/3 innings of relief on May 26, 2019.

Gant did not pitch well in his last outing against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. He allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings, in a 7-2 loss.

“A bit of everything,” Gant said. “Was not quite as sharp as I would have liked to be. Just overall command, really. I tried to put the team in a position to win. Didn’t really do it all that well, but I’ll be ready for the next one.”

The Atlanta offense continues to be led by right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. He had two doubles among his three hits on Wednesday and has reached base safely in 24 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Acuna’s next home run will be the 100th of his career. He has been held without a homer for seven games, matching his longest homerless streak of the season.

St. Louis continues to search for its offense, which ranks 13th in the National League with a batting average of .230.

Nolan Arenado had the day off on Wednesday and needs three homers to reach 250. He is batting .317 with seven homers in 37 career games against the Braves.

Yadier Molina’s next hit will tie Johnny Bench (2,047) for eighth all-time among catchers.

–Field Level Media

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