JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals' Matt Adams broke a tie in the bottom of the eighth with a broken-bat RBI double to right, and St. Louis held on to a 5-4 win against the Braves on Thursday.
"Big hit for us; not a surprise," manager Mike Matheny said of Adams, who is hitting .344 this spring. "The guy can hit. He doesn't have to really prove that to us."
After falling behind early, the Cardinals temporarily pushed in front of the Braves with a four-run, five-hit fifth off starter Mike Minor. The club scored more runs in that inning than it had during its previous three games combined (three runs).
Minor cruised through four innings before being knocked around in his final inning of work. St. Louis sent 10 batters to the plate in the frame. Tony Cruz doubled home the first run of the inning before Matt Carpenter pushed the Cardinals in front with a two-run triple. Allen Craig capped the outburst with a two-out, run-scoring single.
Minor threw 88 pitches, 58 of which were strikes. He walked four and struck out three.
The big inning helped the Cardinals erase a two-run deficit that the Braves had built up primarily with production from the bottom part of their order.
Atlanta outfielder and eight-hole hitter Jordan Parraz singled and scored on Jordan Schafer's two-out single in the third. In his next at-bat, Parraz moved Evan Gattis to third with a one-out double. Gattis then scored on a groundout by Minor.
The Cardinals got long looks at both of the pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the rotation on Thursday. Joe Kelly started the game and allowed one run on three hits over four innings. Kelly, who threw 32 of his 50 pitches for strikes, benefited from a pair of double plays turned behind him.
Miller entered next and gave up one run and six hits in his 2 2/3 innings on the mound. He was then charged with another two runs when Trevor Rosenthal inherited a bases-loaded situation and allowed a two-run bloop single to center in the seventh. That hit by Blake DeWitt evened the game at 4-4.
Miller struck out four -- three on swinging third strikes -- and walked one.
Up next: Adam Wainwright, who is expected to be the Cardinals' Opening Day starter, will make his fourth of six spring starts on Friday, when the Cardinals face the Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT. Wainwright struck out six over 4 2/3 scoreless innings in his last appearance. Dan Haren is scheduled to start for Washington. Fans can watch the action on MLB.TV.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.