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Ronald Acuña Jr, Drew Smyly lead Braves over Cardinals

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Ronald Acuña Jr. launched his 100th career homer in support of a great start by Drew Smyly.

St Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves - Game Two Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 100th career home run while Drew Smyly turned in his best start of the season to help the Atlanta Braves to a 1-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Smyly has had a much maligned season but he was the story in this game. He retired nine of the first 10 hitters he faced over the first three innings. The Braves gave him a run to work with in the third when Acuña jumped on a 2-0 breaking ball from Kwang Hyun Kim and drove it out to left center. The homer was his 19th of the season and snapped a stretch of 33 at-bats without a home run.

He issued a pair of walks in the fourth but Edmundo Sosa to fly out harmlessly to end the inning. Smyly retired the side in order in the fifth and carried a no-hitter into the sixth.

The third time through the order has been a big problem for Smyly but he retired Tommy Edman on a groundout and then struck out Dylan Carlson. Paul Goldschmidt followed with a grounder up the middle that Ozzie Albies made a nice stop on and then wheeled to throw while avoiding the second base umpire. The throw pulled Freddie Freeman off the bag and Goldschmidt was credited with an infield single on the play.

Smyly would then give way to Luke Jackson who lined a bullet that was knocked down by Austin Riley for another infield single. Jackson came back and fanned Tyler O’Neill to end the threat.

This was easily the best start of the season for Smyly who had no trouble commanding his fastball on this evening. He allowed just the one hit, three walks and struck out five over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He threw 85 pitches with 55 going for strikes.

Will Smith struck out a pair of hitters in a perfect seventh to close out the victory.

Atlanta wins the series and improves to 33-36 on the season and close out their homestand with a 3-3 record. The Braves will make the trip to New York tonight where they will open a huge four-game series at the Mets on Monday with another doubleheader.