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Atlanta Braves Fall Short in 4-3 Loss to St. Louis Cardinals

September 11th, 2011 at 2:51 PM
By Jonathan McCullough

Derek Lowe gave up four early runs, and the Atlanta Braves were never able to recover as they lost 4-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday night.

Lowe settled down to pitch six innings with six strikeouts while giving up four runs. While obviously not his best start, he held the Cardinals scoreless after the early runs and gave the Braves a chance to win. The Braves' rally fell just a bit short, as they were only able to muster three runs in their comeback effort.

“Even though it was 4-nothing there, I felt like I still had decent enough stuff to keep the team in the game," Lowe said. "At that point that’s all you’re trying to do. We were able to do that and battle back."

It looked as if the Braves were going to come back. They began chipping away at the Cardinals' lead when Freddie Freeman launched a two-run homer off of Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia in the fourth inning, his 19th of the season. The Braves added another run when Brian McCann hit a two-out RBI single after a single and a steal by Michael Bourn. With the Braves down 4-3 after five innings and a little momentum on their side, it seemed that the Braves might come back and steal this one. However, the Cardinals' bullpen shut down the Braves the rest of the way.

“I think we’re close to breaking out, to where stuff will start clicking offensively and the pitching won’t have to carry us the whole time," Bourn said. "We’ve been swinging and hitting the ball hard at people sometimes, right at them, but that just leads to something happening good, where you can give the [Braves] pitcher some leeway to where they won't have to make every pitch in every count. They’re facing a good offensive team over there.”

Despite the Braves' offensive struggles in the latter half of Saturday night's game and for the better part of the past week, they had a shot in the ninth inning against Jason Motte. Jason Heyward started the rally with a walk after a great at-bat where he was able to lay off some tough pitches from Motte. After a fly-out by pinch-hitter Chipper Jones, Heyward stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. However, Bourn flew out to end the threat after fouling off a number of pitches in his at-bat.

“We had Heyward at third base with Bourn at the plate, who has been swinging the bat really well," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "So you feel good about it. But he made a nice pitch and ended the game on a fly ball.”

The Braves also got a big lift from Anthony Varvaro out of the bullpen. Varvaro threw two perfect innings in relief of Lowe.

The Braves will look to salvage the series by sending their ace Tim Hudson (14-9, 3.14 ERA) to the mound against Jake Westbrook (11-8, 4.65 ERA) on Sunday afternoon at 2:15 EDT.

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Brian McCann, Derek Lowe, Freddie Freeman, Jaime Garcia, Jason Heyward, Jason Motte, Michael Bourn, MLB

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