This was the first game of the series the Cardinals came out to an early lead and this time it still wasn’t enough to fend off the Braves.
The first inning could not have gone any better for the Cardinals against Derek Lowe. Nick Punto singles, Colby singled, and Pujols struck out. Matt Holliday came up to the plate with one down and again put down a double in such a great position and sent Punto and Colby home. Lance Berkman then doubles to score Matt Holliday and help the Cardinals jump out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first and kept them ahead for most of the game.
Jaime Garcia had a strong showing until the bottom of the 5th. Luckily the Cardinals scored when Pujols drove in Jaime in the top of the 5th because the bottom half was again when the Braves nearly caught up. Brian McCann singled and Alex Gonzalez homered in the next spot to bring the Braves within 2 at 4-2. Brandon Hicks later drove in Joe Mather but Jaime got himself out of the early whole and ended the inning with the Cards on top 4-3.
The bottom of the 7th kicked off as Dan Uggla doubled to center and Jaime was subsequently pulled as a result, still in line for the win he is replaced by Jason Motte. Very next batter, the usual Gold Glove candidate Albert Pujols commits yet another error on the season against Alex Gonzalez and Dan Uggla scores to tie the game at 4. Later in the inning Martin Prado singles to score Joe Mather and give the Braves their first lead of the game at 5-4.
The very next inning the Cardinals caught up on the strength of another Matt Holliday doubled that led off the inning, Berkman grounded out but pushed Holliday to third, Jon Jay walks, and Yadi hits a sac fly to right to bring the Cardinals to two outs but it scores Matt Holliday to tie the game.
The bottom of the 8th was the start of odd things to come. Albert Pujols moved to third for the remainder of the game and Ryan Franklin came on in relief and was doing fairly well until the bottom of the ninth. The inning started off and Ryan Theriot dropped a sure out in short to help leadoff batter Alex Gonzalez to first. Joe Mather thus threw down a sacrifice bunt, Nate McLouth walked advancing the runner to second and the very next batter was Mr. Clutch Brooks Conrad who knocked down a great, soft hit to center that easily sent Alex Gonzalez around for the winning run.
Ryan Franklin looked…better, unfortunately anytime he comes in now Cardinals fans think ok, game over, and that is typically the result for this season. He is now 0-3 with an 8.68 ERA and still looking like he needs some major retooling if he hopes to continue on in the Cardinals major league roster.