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Cardinals Vs. Braves: Nick Punto's Two-Run Triple In 11th Inning Gives St. Louis 5-3 Win

Friday, April 29
(15-11) St. Louis Cardinals - 5
(13-14) Atlanta Braves - 3 (11 Innings)

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For the fourth time in eight games, the Braves went to extra innings, and for the third time, they ended up on the losing end. The Cardinals didn't blow the Braves away offensively, but they kept up with Atlanta and responded from their scoring each time.

For the fourth straight game, the Braves scored in the first inning, and for the second time over that span, Jason Heyward put them on the board first with a solo homer, worth .105 WPA. After a Chipper Jones double, Dan Uggla took a cutter up in the zone and slapped it down the right field line for an RBI double, worth .093 WPA.

The Cardinals responded in the fourth with two runs on a Yadier Molina sac fly RBI, worth -.001 WPA, and an RBI single by Daniel Descalso, worth .137 WPA.

The game remained tied at two until the seventh inning, but a couple double plays came along the way. In the sixth, with runners on first and second with one out, Ryan Theriot grounded into a double play to end the inning, worth -.129 WPA. In the bottom of the sixth, the Braves mirrored the Cardinals by putting two on with one out, but Alex Gonzalez grounded into a double play to end the inning, worth -.127 WPA.

With the game still tied at two in the seventh, Nate McLouth hit a solo homer to put the Braves ahead by one, worth .209 WPA. But again, the Cardinals responded in the ninth inning off Craig Kimbrel. Back-to-back singles started the inning, including the second one by Theriot, worth .278 WPA. Descalso sac flied one in to tie the game at three, but St. Louis left the go-ahead run on third.

McLouth walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but Joe Mather was asked to bunt him to second and failed, and Martin Prado grounded into a double play to end the inning, worth -.131 WPA.

The Cardinals finally put it away in the 11th by putting two on with a hit-by-pitch and walk followed by a two-run triple from Nick Punto for a two-run lead, worth .449 WPA, the biggest swing in the game.

Stat of the Day:
Through April 29, Jason Heyward is 11 home runs shy of his 2010 total.

The Game Changer:
Nick Punto's two-run triple in the 11th gave the Cardinals a 5-3 lead, worth .449 WPA.

WPA Winners:
(STL) Nick Punto: .380
(STL) Eduardo Sanchez: .266
(STL) Ryan Theriot: .224

WPA Losers:
(ATL) Cory Gearrin: -.294
(STL) Colby Rasmus: -.223
(ATL) Craig Kimbrel: -.210

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Cardinals fans check out Viva El Birdos.

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