The St. Louis Cardinals extinguished six runs late in Game 1 of the National League Division Series to nudge out the Atlanta Braves 7-6 on Thursday evening at SunTrust Park.
Marcell Ozuna ignited the Cardinals rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, answering the call with the bases loaded by hitting a go-ahead double that rolled down the third baseline scoring Dexter Fowler and Tommy Edman.
“It’s amazing for me and my family, they see it, especially my wife, she’s there and every time I look at her when I’m on deck she says, ‘lets go, lets go,’” Ozuna said after successfully playing his first postseason game.
The Atlanta Braves were the ones to strike first in the bottom of the first inning due to a fielding error by Braves second baseman Kolten Wong. Dallas Keuchel remained in tack through 4.2 frames before Cards center fielder Harrison Bader scored on a groundout from Dexter Fowler tying the game at one.
The Cardinals gained momentum as Paul Goldschmidt breathed life into the Cards offense by sending a 1-0 pitch from Braves right handed pitcher Luke Jackson into the high depths of the second deck that started the Cards’ eighth inning rally.
Despite Braves superstars Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman flirting with a ninth inning comeback with a solo home run and a two-run home run to trail by one, Cardinals right handed pitcher Carlos Martíinez settled down the hype and silenced the crowd as he solidified the Cardinals game one victory.
Even though Acuña went 2-for-3 with a home run in Game 1, he faced backlash in the bottom of the fifth inning for not hustling on a hit that bounced off the right field wall that could have resulted in a double, evidently putting Acuña in scoring position after Ozzie Albies grounded out in the next at-bat.
“He should have been on second … you hate to see that happen.” Braves manager Brian Snitker stated after the disappointing loss at home.
Game 2 of the NLDS, Cardinals vs. Braves, is scheduled for October 4 at 4:37 p.m. EST in Atlanta with Braves right handed pitcher Mike Foltynewicz (8-6, 4.54 ERA) going up against Cardinals right handed pitcher Jack Flaherty (11-8, 2.75 ERA), as both pitchers receive the starting nods.
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