ATLANTA (AP) — Ian Anderson enjoyed a major kickback match after his recent misery prevented him from fully enjoying the Atlanta Braves‘ best part of the season.
Anderson gave up one run in five innings, Austin Riley homered and drove in three, and the Braves defeated the struggling St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 on Tuesday night.
Anderson (7-5) gave up eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
“I wanted to join in the fun,” Anderson said.
Anderson had allowed a total of 11 earned runs in consecutive losses as his ERA climbed to 5.31. He worked on his mechanics in side sessions after allowing seven runs in two innings of a 14-4 loss in Philadelphia on Thursday.
“I definitely felt a lot better about how this one went,” Anderson said, adding that he felt better about “the overall package, being more confident, throwing more strikes.”
Anderson escaped a basesloaded jam in the fifth and got an inning-ending groundout to Dylan Carlson. In the dugout he was welcomed by an appreciative manager Brian Snitker.
“I was just really happy with what he did,” Snitker said.
The defending champion Braves hopes Anderson can show his 6.91 ERA in six starts in June was an aberration.
“We need him to become Ian again, and that was a big, big step forward,” said Snitker.
Riley hit a two-run homerhis 21st, and William Contreras went deep too in the first inning when Atlanta took a 5-0 lead. Matt Olson drove in two runs with two hits, including a single in first inning after Ronald Acuña Jr. singled and stole second.
The Cardinals have lost three straight and five out of six. They are three games behind division-leading Milwaukee in the NL Central.
The Braves came in first place in the NL East within 2 1/2 games of the New York Mets. They have won the first two games of the four-game series.
Cardinals rookie righthander Andre Pallante was drawn in the fourth after giving up consecutive runscoring doubles to Olson and Riley, which ended with three hits. Pallante (2-4) allowed career highs of seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings – his shortest of six starts.
NOW BATTING LEADOFF
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol juggled his line-up, taking Tommy Edman from the clearing spot to seventh. Rookie Brendan Donovan hit the leadoff.
“He knows what he has to do to get back to where he needs to be,” Marmol said of Edman. “Until that happens, we will change the lineup and get some matchups at the top.”
MATZEK’S DEFENSIVE GEM
Edman was held without a hit as left-handed Tyler Matzek, with his back to the plate, casually made a backhanded grab from his grounder in the eighth. Donovan hit one basehit when the Cardinals stranded 12 runners.
Matzek returned from the injured list on Monday after missing 46 games with a left shoulder infection. He threw a scoreless eighth and allowed one walk.
Cardinals: Marmol said LHP Génesis Cabrera (injury undisclosed) was “really good” at throwing live batting drills. Cabrera was placed at the IL on June 25th and will be judged on Wednesday. … Marmol said RHP Johan Oviedo woke up “better than we expected” after being hit on his right by a line drive goal Monday night. X-rays were negative.
Braves: A week after being placed on the 15-day IL, RHP Kenley Jansen (irregular heartbeat) threw off the mound before the game. Jansen is on track to be activated when he first becomes eligible on July 12. “Once he’s acquitted… he should be ready to go,” Snitker said. … OR Adam Duvall came on in the eighth of the game as a defensive substitute in left field, his first appearance since being hit by a pitch to his left hand in Cincinnati on Saturday.
Cardinals RHP Miles Mikolas (5-6, 2.61 ERA) will make his first start against Atlanta since 2019, when he takes on Braves LHP Max Fried (8-2, 2.66) on Wednesday night. Mikolas is 1-2 with a 2.61 ERA in five career appearances, including four starts, against Atlanta. Fried is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals.
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