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Braves vs. Cardinals: Atlanta Unable To Overcome Early Deficit, Lose 4-3

The Braves continued to struggle on Saturday night and were unable to mount a late rally against Jaime Garcia and the Cardinals bullpen.

Derek Lowe did not have a bad night -- 6IP, 9H, 4ER, 2BB, 6K -- but he did put his team in an early hole. The veteran allowed two runs in the first inning and two more in the third. As for Atlanta's bullpen, Anthony Varvaro gave the rest of the unit a much-needed night of rest and worked two scoreless, hitless innings.

Garcia had Atlanta fooled early, though the team did battle back in the middle innings. Freddie Freeman hit an opposite-field two-run home run in the fourth inning to cut the deficit in half. Brian McCann also added a run with an RBI-single down the line to drive in Michael Bourn in the following inning.

After being shutdown in the seventh and eighth innings by the Cardinals 'pen, the Braves tried to steal a run in the final inning. Jason Heyward drew a one-out walk and then stole second and advanced to third with a bad throw that bounced into center field. Michael Bourn fouled off five pitches to stay alive, but the outfielder was unable to drive the run in.

Atlanta loses their seventh game in the last nine days. Their lead in the wild card is down to 5.5. The elimination number remains at 12 for the Cardinals. 

Tim Hudson, we need you to have a big game in the series finale Sunday.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.