On the heels of a euphoric experience on Wednesday evening, the Atlanta Braves faced off with the St. Louis Cardinals in the series finale on Thursday. Nine innings later, the home team emerged with a comfortable, 10-2 victory and fun was had by all.
The evening began in harmless fashion for the Braves, as Julio Teheran walked two before inducing a double play to end the top of the first inning.
A (late) challenge from St. Louis on the first-inning double play did not make Brian Snitker very happy, but the calls stands. pic.twitter.com/vD41icuKxU— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) May 16, 2019
The first dent to the scoreboard took place in the second inning, with Nick Markakis leading things off with a walk and Austin Riley nearly hitting another home run.
Austin Riley was THIS CLOSE to his second career homer. pic.twitter.com/mKFgxwDqAL— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) May 17, 2019
Riley’s blast was ruled a double but, in short, order Brian McCann delivered a sacrifice fly to give Atlanta the lead. Later, Teheran helped himself with a squeeze bunt that brought Riley to the plate for a 2-0 advantage.
In the third inning, the Braves built on their edge, with Markakis producing an RBI double that plated Freddie Freeman. On cue, Riley delivered an RBI single and, quickly, it was 4-0.
To add insult to injury for the Cardinals, Teheran again drove in a run with an RBI single and the visitors trailed 5-0 at the end of the third inning.
Atlanta’s veteran starting pitcher did run into a hint of trouble in the fifth with a pair of base-runners, but Teheran managed to escape unscathed. Teheran then lasted only one batter into the sixth inning but, all told, it was a positive outing in that pitched five scoreless innings while allowing six base-runners and striking out four.
After Teheran exited, Jacob Webb did allow the Cardinals to score with a home run by Marcell Ozuna in the sixth but, fortunately, that did not foreshadow additional damage. In fact, the Braves bounced right back in the bottom of the inning with another offensive explosion. After a walk from Matt Joyce and a single from Ronald Acuña, Freeman beat out an infield single to score a run and he was flanked by back-to-back RBI singles from Josh Donaldson and Markakis. The end result was an 8-1 lead and, in reality, that ended the competitive portion of the evening.
Sean Newcomb zoomed through a scoreless inning in the seventh and the Braves added yet another insurance run. That bit of offensive positivity came on an RBI single from Acuña and, even if Touki Toussaint gave it back in allowing a home run to Matt Carpenter in the eighth, there was never any level of danger. For good measure, Freeman blasted a home run in the eighth and that led to the final, eight-run margin.
On what was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for the Braves, there was plenty of offense to go around. Riley continued his blistering hot streak with three hits in four trips to the plate, Freeman produced three hits (with a home run), Markakis stayed hot with two hits, two runs and two RBI, and Acuña added two hits of his own.
The Braves will be back in action against a new opponent in the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday evening at SunTrust Park but, after back-to-back wins in decisive fashion, optimism is high.