ATLANTA -- Even after losing their third outfielder to an injury within the past three days, the Cardinals still managed to extend Julio Teheran's SunTrust Park struggles and provide sufficient support for Mike Leake during Saturday night's 5-3 win over the Braves.
Leake limited the Braves to one hit through the first six innings, then allowed a pair of extra-base hits, including Adonis Garcia's three-run homer, in the seventh. But as the Braves lost for the fifth time in their past six games, they were unable to overcome the damage created by Matt Carpenter's two-run homer in the third inning and Matt Adams' solo shot in the fourth.
"Yesterday, everybody contributed in that game. There were hard-hit balls all over the place," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose club has scored 31 runs during its five-game road winning streak. "I think you just need a few of those days to kind of set that expectation level for what the offense should look like. Everybody is just kind of feeding off each other."
This has not been a good week for the Braves, who have surrendered a first-inning run in each of the past five games and have seen their starting pitchers produce a 9.00 ERA over the first five games of this homestand. These struggles extended to Teheran, who gave up four runs over five innings on the way to producing his third consecutive disappointing home start.
"I felt a lot better as compared to my last start," said Teheran, who allowed four runs in five innings to the Cardinals compared to the Mets' six runs in six innings on Monday. "I felt like the ball was coming out pretty good. I made a couple mistakes, but that's part of the game. They took advantage. Whenever I was missing, they scored some runs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Next man up: When right fielder Jose Martinez exited in the top of the first inning with a left groin injury, the Cardinals inserted Adams, who singled ahead of Carpenter's two-run shot and then drilled what proved to be a decisive homer in the fourth. Adams' solo shot, which had a 107-mph exit velocity per Statcast™, stands as the latest of the five long balls Teheran has surrendered over his past 15 innings at SunTrust Park.
"Smashed a couple balls," Matheny said. "[He has a] nice, short swing and the ball is jumping for him. [Playing left field] wasn't exactly what he was expecting, but he did a real nice job."
MLB-best streak snapped: After Matt Kemp doubled with one out and Nick Markakis drew a walk, Garcia followed with his three-run blast over the left-center-field wall. The homer, which traveled a projected 424 feet (the second-longest of the third baseman's career), snapped Leake's streak of not allowing a home run over 55 innings. That streak stood as the longest in the Majors.
"[Leake] was throwing a lot of strikes and attacking a lot of hitters," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's throwing the ball really good. I knew we were going to have our hands full going into the night. It just adds to the problem when you get behind a guy like that and have to play catch up."
Though his ERA rose to 1.79 (second lowest in the National League), Leake still leads the Majors with six quality starts.
"[The] fastball and cutter were moving pretty good today," Leake said afterward. "I didn't have to go too deep with the secondary stuff."
"I feel a lot better. We didn't win and I'm not happy with that, but it's a step forward, and we'll see it in my next outing." -- Teheran, who has surrendered five homers while allowing 17 earned runs over his past three home starts (15 innings)
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With a 3-for-4 night on Saturday, shortstop Aledmys Diaz is the first Cardinals player since 2009 to tally at least three hits in three consecutive games. Matt Holliday was the last to do so. Diaz has reached base 11 times since Thursday. More >
MEDICAL UPDATE Martinez's groin injury is serious enough that the Cardinals will fly him back to St. Louis on Sunday to undergo an MRI. He's expected to go on the 10-day disabled list and be replaced on the active roster by outfielder Magneuris Sierra.
The Cardinals were also without Dexter Fowler on Saturday, as he missed his second straight game due to right shoulder soreness. With Fowler out, the Cardinals were forced to use Adams and Diaz in the outfield. More >
The Braves challenged the call that Ender Inciarte was thrown out attempting to complete a double steal with Lane Adams serving as the lead runner with one out in the sixth. The call stood, and Adams was stranded at third base when Brandon Phillips followed with a flyout to center field to finish off the inning.
"I thought I had enough of a lead to make it to second," Inciarte said. "The umpire could have called that either way. But when you end up being the second out on any base, you don't feel good about it. So, hopefully next time, I'll make a better decision."
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: The Cardinals wrap up their stay in Atlanta with a 12:35 p.m. CT game against the Braves on Sunday. Michael Wacha, who is 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA this season, seeks his first career victory against Atlanta.
Braves:R.A. Dickey will take the mound when Atlanta concludes its three-game series against the Cardinals at 1:35 p.m. ET on Sunday. Dickey helped the Braves to their only win over their past six games as he tossed six solid innings against the Mets on Tuesday. .