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Braves vs. Cardinals Final Score: Atlanta falls to St. Louis, 6-3

The Atlanta Braves lost the NL Wild Card play-in game to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night, 6-3. The Braves struck first, taking a 2-0 lead in the second, but St. Louis came back starting with three runs in the fourth, and Atlanta was never able to close the gap.

The Braves' best chance at a comeback came in the eighth, when a rally was disrupted by a bizarre infield fly rule call.

Matt Holliday and Peter Kozma both went for a ball in shallow left, and when Kozma made the call the infield fly rule was invoked. Kozma's placement when he made the catch was well out of the infield:



That led to a significant delay as Fredi Gonzales argued the call, then placed the game under protest. Displeased Atlanta fans littered the field with debris, resulting in further delay. Jason Motte entered for St. Louis as play finally resumed, and he walked the next batter to give the Braves the bases loaded with two outs. Michael Bourn came to the plate, but he struck out to end the inning and strand all three runners.

St. Louis went in order in the top of the ninth, leaving Atlanta's chances to Martin Prado, Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones. Motte got Prado on a groundout to second and Heyward on a flyout to left, leaving Chipper Jones at the plate with two outs. Jones, in what was likely his last at-bat, reached on a broken-bat infield single, extending the inning for the Braves. Freddie Freeman hit a ground-rule double to left center, briefly keeping the Braves alive, but Dan Uggla was unable to keep the rally going as he grounded out to end the game.

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