Cardinals split doubleheader with Braves; Wainwright tosses gem in opener
ATLANTA (AP) - Drew Smyly didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 100th career homer and the Atlanta Braves earned a split of a day-night doubleheader with a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night.
Smyly signed an $11 million, one-year deal as a free agent in November and has largely been a disappointment for the Braves, entering with a 5.63 ERA in 11 starts.
He held the Cardinals hitless until Paul Goldschmidt reached on an infield single with two outs in the sixth. Second baseman Ozzie Albies fielded the ball in shallow right field and made a wide throw to first.
Closer Will Smith pitched the seventh of the shortened doubleheader under pandemic rules, earning his 13th save in 14 chances. He retired Edmundo Sosa on a flyout, then struck out Paul DeJong and out Andrew Knizner.
Acuña, playing in his 378th game, became the sixth-quickest to reach the milestone with a shot to left-center in the third inning off Kwang Hyun Kim that made it 1-0. It was his 19th homer, second-most in the NL.
In the first game, Adam Wainwright struck out 11 and pitched a three-hitter, sending the Cardinals to a 9-1 victory.
Before the sixth, Smyly allowed three baserunners — a walk of Tyler O’Neill in the second, Paul Goldschmidt in the fourth and O’Neill again in the fourth. Luke Jackson, who entered the game with a 1.05 ERA, struck out O’Neill to end the sixth with runners on first and second.
Acuña hit his first homer in 10 games, snapping his longest drought of the season.
Kim (1-5) allowed three hits and one run in four innings. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fifth.
In the first game, Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer off Bryse Wilson in the first and Goldschmidt added a three-run shot off Josh Tomlin in the fifth.
The 39-year-old Wainwright (5-5) didn’t allow a hit until the fourth, when Freddie Freeman singled. It was Wainwright’s 26th career complete game, two of them this season and tying him with Justin Verlander for the most among active players.
Wainwright was proud to pitch the 26th complete game of his career, no matter how long it went.
“I’ll take them however they give them to me,” he said. “If the next one is a five-inning rainout, I’ll take that one, too. I like going the distance. That’s a notch on the belt. That’s what we strive to do.”
After rain postponed Saturday’s game to force the doubleheader, the Cardinals snapped a six-game road losing streak, their longest under fourth-year manager Mike Shildt.
St. Louis had scored only 10 runs in its last seven games and was held to six hits and one run in the first two games of this four-game series before breaking loose.
The Braves, who play another doubleheader Monday at the New York Mets, had dropped seven of 10 after the first game.
The Cardinals have dropped 14 of 20 after losing the second game.
Braves manager Brian Snitker had no update on the status of LHP Tucker Davidson, who avoided Tommy John surgery last week after being diagnosed with a forearm strain. “He’s in that shutdown phase where they’re just going to cool everything down for a while,” Snitker said.
In the first game, Acuña went 0 for 3 to snap the major leagues’ longest current on-base streak at 26 straight games.
ON THE LIST
Only Ryan Howard (324 games), Gary Sánchez (355), Aaron Judge (371), Ralph Kiner (376) and Joey Gallo (377) reached 100 homers faster than Acuña.
Braves RHP Ian Anderson (4-3, 3.58) and LHP Kyle Muller (0-0, 18.00) are set to start Monday’s doubleheader for Atlanta in a yet-to-be-determined order. ... The Cardinals are off Monday. Johan Oviedo will start Tuesday’s game at Detroit.
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