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Duvall, Soler home runs power Braves past Cardinals

By WARREN MAYES

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler homered, and Stephen Vogt drove in the eventual game-winning run with a sacrifice fly as the Atlanta Braves beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4 on Wednesday night.

Dansby Swanson went 4 for 4 with three runs scored for the Braves, who moved to .500 at 54-54.
Will Smith, the sixth Braves’ pitcher, picked up his 22nd save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

The win helped Atlanta post its first two-game winning streak since the All-Star break. The Braves have won eight of their last nine games at Busch Stadium.

Giovanny Gallegos (5-4) allowed three runs in the eighth inning as the Cardinals lost for the sixth time in 10 games. St. Louis dropped a game below .500 at 53-54.

With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, Vogt hit a fly to deep center, easily scoring Austin Riley. Pinch-hitter Joc Pederson, acquired in a recent trade with the Cubs, hit a line-drive double to right, plating two insurance runs.

The Cardinals tied the game 4-4 in the seventh on a sacrifice fly to right field by Paul Goldschmidt. Chris Martin (1-3) failed to check on two runners, who pulled off a double steal to set up the scoring play.

The Braves scored four unanswered runs to go up 4-3. Duvall hit his 23rd homer of the season off reliever Ryan Helsley after Swanson hit his third single in the sixth. Atlanta had cut the Cardinals’ lead to 3-2 in the fifth on a two-out homer by Soler, who was picked up from the Kansas City Royals last week. Soler also had a two-run homer in Tuesday’s game. The Braves scored a run on a two-out double by Guillermo Heredia in the fourth.

Nolan Arenado, who also doubled, hit a three-run homer in the first inning. His 21st home run of the season off starter Drew Smyly scored Dylan Carlson and Goldschmidt, who singled ahead of Arenado.

J.A. Happ made his first start for St. Louis since he was acquired from Minnesota at the trade deadline last week. Happ’s debut gave St. Louis its 10th different left-hander to pitch this season, tying the 1993 Cardinals for most in single-season franchise history.

In his previous start, Happ allowed nine runs on 10 hits through three innings to the Detroit Tigers. He was more effective this time, allowing Atlanta five hits and two runs.

HALL OF FAME WRITER HONORED

Hall of Fame reporter Rick Hummel threw out an honorary first pitch to Cardinals legend Willie McGee before the game. Hummel is celebrating his 50th anniversary of working at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this season.

THAT’S A SWITCH

With an infield single in the first, Carlson (100 hits) and Tommy Edman (106) became the first pair of Cardinals switch-hitters with 100-plus hits in a season since Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal did it in 2012.

FACING SOUTHPAWS

The Braves faced their third consecutive left-handed pitcher Wednesday after seeing Brett Anderson and Jon Lester in the previous games. It will be four in a row Thursday when Wade LeBlanc makes his scheduled start against Atlanta. … St. Louis is lining up four left-handers in its rotation in the same week for the first time since July 15-18, 1995.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: RHP Ian Anderson (right shoulder) is expected to make at least two rehab starts now that he has been cleared to throw a rehab assignment since being sidelined during the All-Star break with right shoulder inflammation.

Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (oblique) will make his third rehab start Friday in Double-A Springfield. He will get up to 75 pitches. His previous two rehab appearances were for Triple-A Memphis. He suffered a torn oblique May 31 at Dodger Stadium.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Touki Toussaint (1-2, 4.76) last defeated St. Louis on July 19, 2018, when he threw 5 2/3 innings in a 7-3 victory.

Cardinals: LHP Wade LeBlanc (0-2, 4.17) will be making his 13th career appearance and fifth start against the Braves. He threw a season-high 85 pitches and matched his season-high with 5 2/3 innings pitched in taking a no decision in the Cardinals 5-1 win in his last start.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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