The Cardinals kept their winning ways alive on Friday night with an 8-5 victory over the Braves at Busch Stadium to extend their streak to a season-best seven games. They have recorded eight or more runs in six consecutive wins, the first team to do so since the 2006 Braves. Meanwhile, Atlanta has lost 14 of its past 18 games.
With the win, the Cards remained one game behind the National League Central-leading Cubs, who beat the D-backs, 8-3.
St. Louis scored early and often, posting a four-run second to grab a 4-0 lead. They proceeded to chase starter Mike Foltynewicz in the third after an RBI triple by Randal Grichuk and an RBI single by Adam Wainwright. The RBI was the right-hander's 11th, which leads all Major League pitchers.
"Getting guys on base, putting the pressure on them and then guys coming through with the big hits," Cards rookie shortstop Paul DeJong said. "It's kind of contagious now. We're getting guys on and then we're like, 'OK, who's going to knock them in now?' And really, it's just been a snowball effect."
Foltynewicz was lifted after 2 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits and walking four, tying his season high.
"It was just an embarrassing outing," Foltynewicz said. "To go out there and not even get through three innings, it's tough. It's tough on the team, tough on the bullpen. You have to give the team all the credit in the world coming back like that. ... If I wasn't walking someone, I was over the middle of the plate or a little up in the zone for where they can do damage and get the hits like they did. But it was just a weird day. I got myself in trouble with all the walks and I couldn't stop the bleeding."
Down 6-1, the Braves made things interesting in the sixth. Following an RBI single by Matt Adams, in his return to St. Louis after being traded by the Cardinals on May 20, No. 2 Braves prospect Ozzie Albies smashed a 335-foot, three-run homer off Brett Cecil to bring the visitors within one.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED A missed opportunity: In the third, the Braves appeared primed to put up a big response to the Cardinals' offensive eruption. Wainwright walked the bases loaded after Foltynewicz and Ender Inciarte hit back-to-back singles. The pitcher's hit was just his third of the season. They were ultimately able to only get one run across, however, after Freddie Freeman hit into a 3-6-1 double play and Nick Markakis flew out to center field, ending the inning.
Coming up clutch: DeJong came through with a two-out, two-run double in the eighth to give the Cardinals some breathing room with an 8-5 lead. DeJong finished with two doubles and three RBIs.
"I think everyone just sighed a little bit of relief," DeJong said of the hit. "Going into the ninth without [Trevor Rosenthal available], our closer, in there and just knowing that we've got a three-run lead definitely gives us more confidence and ability to breathe."
"Get right back in there and we were an out away from keeping it to one in the eighth and it just kind of unraveled there, too," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
"He was tough. The last time I faced him in the spring, he was throwing 94 [mph] with a sharp curveball. Today, it was just like an R.A. Dickey fastball." -- Albies, on facing Wainwright
"I think I got a couple in the 50's. It didn't register, but a couple of those curveballs were in the 50's, I would bet." -- Wainwright, on his slowest pitches of the night
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Cardinals have scored eight runs in six straight games for the first time since April 11-16, 2011, tying the franchise record. The club also achieved the feat Sept. 9-15, 1922.
ADAMS GETS OVATION
Adams figured he would be greeted warmly by the Cardinals fans in his return to Busch Stadium, but the second-inning ovation from the crowd of 41,928 was even better than he had anticipated.
"I wasn't expecting it to be that loud," Adams said. "But they do it right here. I told [Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina] to get back behind the plate, but he stood out there a couple extra seconds, which was pretty cool." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Seeking his first Major League victory, right-hander Lucas Sims (0-2, 5.25 ERA) will make his third career start Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET against the Cardinals. The 23-year-old allowed four runs in six innings against the Marlins in his last start.
Cardinals:Carlos Martinez (8-9, 3.52 ERA) will take the mound at 6:15 p.m. CT on Saturday in the middle game of the three-game set. The right-hander is coming off his best start since the All-Star break, allowing just two runs over eight innings against the Royals.