Braves Crumble Late to Fall to Cardinals 4-3

On a night when Craig Kimbrel's scoreless streak came to an end at 37.2 innings, the early Braves lead finally disappeared in the ninth, allowing the Cardinals to walk-off with a 4-3 win in the tenth.

The Braves wasted no time in getting their scoring started for the night. In the top of the first inning, Michael Bourn managed to get on base with a hit that flagrantly should have been an error on second baseman, Skip Schumaker. McCann then sent the speedy center fielder across the plate from first with a deep drive that struck the base of the right center field wall. Freddie Freeman ran into some luck, landing a flair just in fair territory in front of Matt Holliday that sent McCann across the plate to give the Braves an early 2-0 lead.

The Cardinals tried their best to even the score in the bottom of the first, and the rest of the night for that matter. Furcal got on base with a walk and advanced to third thanks to a peculiar hit and run call on a 3-0 count to Pujols. Holliday grounded out to Chipper to score Furcal and draw the Cards to a closer 2-1 deficit.

As George Costanza would say, yada yada yada, the score was still 2-1 in the top of the ninth. There were a whole lot of opportunities for both sides between the first and the ninth. The best chance for the Braves came when they put runners of first and third with no outs in the top of the fourth. Prado struck out prior to a Heyward walk, and then with Jack Wilson and Randall Delgado up next, Edwin Jackson had no trouble striking out the remaining two batters to end the threat.

Atlanta extended their lead to 3-1 in the top half of the ninth inning behind an RBI triple from Michael Bourn, who had four hits on the night. Kimbrel came on to close the ninth, but with one man on and two men out he walked two batters before Pujols came to the plate. Albert slapped a ball down the first base line that scored two to tie the game and take the game to extras. With nothing doing in the top half of the tenth, Scott Linebrink came on to pitch the bottom half. With the bases loaded and one out, Nick Punto hit a fly ball that was deep enough to score Matt Holliday and send the Cardinals to a 4-3 win.

Randall Delgado went five innings, giving up three hits, three walks, and one run and was handed no decision in the game. This game was a heartbreaker, plain and simple. Kimbrel will bounce back and in my honest opinion, I think that the blown save might help him grow and come to ground himself as the Braves move toward the postseason.

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