Local Sports
Freddie Freeman spent the previous four seasons playing for an Atlanta team that averaged 90 losses a year.
 
Now that the Braves are back challenging for a division title, the All-Star first baseman knows his club can't afford any long losing streaks.
 
Freeman hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs, Touki Toussaint pitched into the sixth inning and the NL East-leading Braves snapped a four-game skid with a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
 
It was a critical win for Atlanta, which is 5 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Phillies and opens a four-game home series against them on Thursday. Philadelphia blanked the New York Mets 4-0 on Wednesday night.
 
The Braves have a magic number of six over Philadelphia to clinch their first division title since 2013.
 
St. Louis, which had won three straight, trails Milwaukee by three games for the top NL wild card but leads Colorado by 1 1/2 games for the second spot. The Rockies lost 5-2 at Dodger Stadium.
 
Atlanta closer A.J. Minter, working in a non-save situation in the ninth, walked two to load the bases, but he ended it by striking out Jose Martinez and getting Paul DeJong to pop up.
 
Freeman's 23rd homer, an opposite-field shot to left-center, put the Braves up 2-0 in the fourth against Jack Flaherty. Freeman went 3 for 3 and is hitting .405 over his past 11 games.
 
Toussaint (2-1) allowed five hits, two runs, three walks and struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings. A rookie making his fourth career start, Toussaint was chased after Yadier Molina's RBI single cut the lead to 5-2 in the sixth.
 
Flaherty (8-8) gave up five hits, a season-high five runs and two walks with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Facing the Braves for the first time, Flaherty began the game as the NL rookie leader in strikeouts, winning percentage and opponents' batting average. He had gone 4-1 with 1.69 ERA in his previous eight starts.
 
Flowers doubled to begin the three-run fifth and scored on a wild pitch. Freeman chased Flaherty with an RBI single, and the lead swelled to four runs on a double steal by Ender Inciarte and Freeman. The Braves successfully challenged to get the call overturned that Freeman had been tagged out.
 
Atlanta added a run to make it 6-2 in the seventh. Inciarte doubled and scored when second baseman Kolten Wong threw errantly to first on a potential double play grounder.
 
Jedd Gyorko's sacrifice fly in the eighth cut the lead to 6-3. Flowers' eighth homer in the bottom half of the inning made it 7-3.
 
At least for one game, Atlanta played well at home, where it had dropped 14 of 18 and has won just one of its past seven series.
 
Freeman, who became the first Braves first baseman with 20 homers and 10 stolen bases in a season since Dale Murphy in 1978, wants his teammates to enjoy the pennant race and not press.
 
Up next for the Cardinals: RHP John Gant (7-6, 3.53 ERA) will start when St. Louis, following a day off, opens a three-game home series against San Francisco. He allowed six hits and six runs in his previous start, a 17-4 loss to the Dodgers.

Local Weather - Sponsored By:
 

 

News