Braves rally in ninth to take NLDS lead over Cardinals

EditorsNote: Adds quotes; other minor edits

Oct 6, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals former player Ozzie Smith throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to game three of the 2019 NLDS playoff baseball series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pinch hitter Adam Duvall’s two-run single capped a three-run, ninth-inning rally as the visiting Atlanta Braves rallied past the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in Game 3 of a National League Division Series on Sunday afternoon.

The Braves gained a 2-1 edge in the best-of-five series. Game 4 will be played Monday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson had three hits, including the game-tying double in the ninth inning. Cardinals closer Carlos Martinez (1-1) took the loss after entering with a 1-0 lead in the ninth.

“He’s bent, but he hasn’t broken a whole lot,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said of Martinez after the game. “He’s been really, really good a lot. You look at his numbers; one of the big reasons I’m sitting here and we’re playing is Carlos Martinez. He’s been outstanding in that role.”

Sean Newcomb (1-0), the fourth Braves pitcher, earned the victory. Mark Melancon closed out the Cardinals, allowing one hit in the ninth, for the save.

Josh Donaldson led off the ninth with a double. After Nick Markakis and Adeiny Hechavarria struck out, Brian McCann got a free pass before Swanson hammered an RBI double into the left field corner. That set the stage for Duvall’s two-run single into center field.

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“This is what they do, that’s been their DNA for a couple of years now,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of his club.

“It’s like a NBA game; you don’t want to leave this team in the seventh inning because they can lay around dead in the water, and then everything happens in the last hour of the game, last 30 minutes of the game. They never quit, they never give up.”

Braves starting pitcher Mike Soroka held the Cardinals to one run on just two hits in seven innings, both by Marcell Ozuna. He struck out seven and walked none.

Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright held the Braves scoreless for 7 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out eight. He worked seven or more innings for the eighth time in his 13 postseason starts.

Ozuna hit a lead-off double in the second inning, advanced to third on Yadier Molina’s groundout and scored on Matt Carpenter’s sacrifice fly to put the Cardinals up 1-0.

After the Braves left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, Carpenter and Tommy Edman drew walks off reliever Max Fried to open the bottom of the inning.

Paul DeJong popped out before Darren O’Day relieved Fried and picked off pinch runner Harrison Bader at second base. That proved helpful when Jose Martinez lined a single to left.

Newcomb relieved O’Day and coaxed Dexter Fowler to fly out to end the threat.

Duvall is 3-for-3 with four RBIs as a pinch hitter in this series. His two-run homer in the seventh inning of Game 2 provided insurance for the Braves in their 3-0 victory.

--Field Level Media