McClellan makes solid rotation bid vs. Braves

McClellan makes solid rotation bid vs. Braves

McClellan makes solid rotation bid vs. Braves
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- J.C. Boscan's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Braves over the Cardinals, 2-1, on Thursday afternoon at Champion Stadium.

Cardinals starter Kyle McClellan extended his strong start to the exhibition season, limiting the Braves to just one run and three hits in four innings. The lone run he surrendered was tallied in the first inning by Martin Prado, who notched the first of two infield singles and crossed the plate on Dan Uggla's two-out single.

McClellan, who is bidding to be St. Louis' fifth starter, has allowed one run in seven innings this spring. The only hit he allowed in his final three innings was Prado's third-inning one-out dribbler to the left side of the infield.

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"For the most part, it's [about] sitting down, getting back up, throwing the warmup pitches, throwing deep into games," McClellan said. "For me, four innings is deep, just based on where we are in the spring right now. I'm happy with where everything's at. I don't feel like I tailed off."

Braves starter Derek Lowe pitched out of a couple of jams while limiting the Cardinals to two hits in four scoreless innings. The Braves' veteran right-hander hasn't allowed a run in the nine innings he has completed this spring.

Lowe allowed a first-inning two-out double to Matt Carpenter, then escaped the inning by striking out Mark Hamilton with runners at the corners. He also escaped the fourth inning unscathed after a Freddie Freeman error put runners at first and second with nobody out.

Up next for Braves: After starter Tommy Hanson completes his four scheduled innings in Friday's 1:05 p.m. ET matchup against the Yankees in Tampa, Fla., Kenshin Kawakami will make his exhibition season debut. Kawakami, whose arrival in camp was delayed by passport and visa issues, was removed from the 40-man roster in November. The Braves remain hopeful they will be able to trade him before the start of the season. Coming off his most encouraging effort of the year, closer candidate Craig Kimbrel is also scheduled to pitch.

Up next for Cardinals: Lance Lynn makes his first start of the spring on Friday when the Cardinals face the Tigers at Roger Dean Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT. Lynn is a long shot to win the club's vacant fifth-starter job, but he remains one of the leading alternatives in case McClellan falters. After missing the club's two games against the Braves, Lance Berkman is likely to return to the lineup as the Cards' designated hitter on Friday, and it could be a star-laden lineup, since Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina and Colby Rasmus also sat out Thursday's game at Champion Stadium.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.