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Series Recap: Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals

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Dilip Vishwanat

Although not the most ideal outcome, the Braves leave St. Louis with just one win in four games, but the win ensures home-field advantage in a postseason series in the event the Braves and Cardinals finish tied for the best record. Atlanta's lead in the NL East is currently at 13 games over Washington with a magic number of 20. Pitching was the main star of the series, and Cardinals pitchers held the Braves to a total of five runs through the first three games. Each of Atlanta's starters in the losses pitched well and held their own even though St. Louis pulled away late in two of them. Mike Minor earned his 13th win of the season with a good pitching performance on Sunday.

Paul Maholm returned from the DL on Thursday and he performed about as well as one would expect from him. He pitched well the first couple of times through the Cardinals lineup, but started getting hit hard the third time through. If he pitches in the postseason at all, I'd prefer it be in relief.

The acquisition of Elliot Johnson was a bit puzzling to me since he's an all-defense guy and Atlanta already had a guy like that in Paul Janish. He was in the middle of a miserable slump offensively when he was acquired, but had four hits in the series and an RBI. Even Janish contributed on offense with an RBI single on Sunday.

The plight of B.J. Upton continues: his base hit on Thursday broke a 25-at-bat hitless streak, but that's still his only hit in his last 33 plate appearances. Jordan Schafer has only been a little bit better, and had two hits including a leadoff triple in Atlanta's win.

Freddie Freeman continued to stay hot although he had his seven-game hitting streak broken on Sunday. He had four hits in the series including a home run.

Andrelton Simmons also had a good series with the bat, accumulating five hits including his 12th home run of the season. He now has nine hits in his last six games.

Chris Johnson jammed a toe stumbling over first base on Saturday. He believes he'll be able to return to the lineup on Tuesday in Atlanta when the Braves host Cleveland.

Please make a speedy recovery, Jason. We miss you already.