September 19, 2018 / 3:22 AM / in 3 months

Cards stay hot while Braves keep reeling

EditorsNote: fixes “previous outing” in sixth graf

Paul DeJong homered for the second straight game to support the strong pitching effort of Austin Gomber as the visiting St. Louis Cardinals strolled to an 8-1 win Tuesday over the Atlanta Braves, who lost their fourth straight.

DeJong hit a two-run shot against Atlanta starter Anibal Sanchez (6-6) in the fourth inning to give the Cardinals a lead they never relinquished. It was the 19th homer for DeJong, 15 of them on the road.

The Cardinals (84-68) won their third consecutive game and retained possession of the lead for the second National League wild card. St. Louis is 36-22 since the All-Star Game and improved to 5-0 all time and 2-0 this season at SunTrust Park.

Atlanta (83-68) saw its lead in the NL East shrink to 5 1/2 games over Philadelphia, which won on Tuesday. Atlanta’s magic number remains seven.

DeJong added some insurance with an RBI single in the eighth, giving him 43 since the All-Star Game. He went 2-for-5 and is 11-for-23 (.478) in his career against the Braves.

Gomber (6-1) pitched five innings and allowed one run on six hits and three walks. He struck out five. It was a nice bounce-back for the left-hander, who was roughed up for seven runs in three innings in his previous outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 13.

Sanchez worked six innings and allowed two runs on four hits. The veteran right-hander matched his season high with nine strikeouts, and he didn’t issue a walk.

Atlanta got its run in the third inning on a homer by Ronald Acuna Jr. The rookie’s 26th long ball was hit to center field. It was his first home run since Sept. 9 and his 19th since being moved into the leadoff spot after the All-Star break.

The Cardinals put the game away by scoring four times in the eighth. After DeJong drove in a run, St. Louis loaded the bases for Yadier Molina, who slapped a single to left field. The hit drove in two runs and cleared the bases when the ball got past Acuna.

St. Louis scored two more runs in the ninth on Tyler O’Neill’s double and Marcell Ozuna’s long single.

—Field Level Media

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