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Cardinals get swept by Braves, lose finale 7-4

Associated Press Published: May 13, 2012

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One pitch cost Lance Lynn a chance at franchise history.

It also put the St. Louis Cardinals, who got swept for the first time this season, in a hole they couldn't escape.

Aside from Jason Heyward's bases-clearing double in the third, the rookie right-hander who's been standing in for the injured Chris Carpenter took care of the Braves.

But the Cardinals were just 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 in a 7-4 loss as the Braves completed a three-game sweep on Sunday.

"I wish I could have gotten one today," Lynn said. "The past is the past now. I'm looking for the next start and trying to get better."

Lynn had been bidding to become the franchise's first pitcher to win his first seven starts of the season dating to 1920, according to STATS LLC.

Heyward's hit ended a 10-pitch at-bat and put the Braves up 3-0 in the third. Tommy Hanson (4-3) allowed one run in five innings with nine strikeouts and Martin Prado, Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla each had an RBI in a three-run seventh.

Given another chance, Hanson would have taken a different approach against Heyward.

"Looking back on it I'd probably throw him something different," Lynn said. "When you hit a double down the line, you want that one back. I stuck with what's got me here and that was a fastball, and he made a good swing on it."

The Braves had lost seven in a row in St. Louis before Friday and swept the Cardinals for the first time since Sept. 11-13, 2009, also in St. Louis.

"Honestly, they played better baseball than us," Carlos Beltran said. "They pitched better, they played better defense, they came through when the team needed them the most, and we couldn't do that.

"But you know what? We have to turn the page."

Beltran homered for the sixth time in six games with his league-leading 13th of the season, also his first hit in 14 career at-bats against Hanson. Allen Craig hit a three-run homer off Cristhian Martinez in the ninth for his third hit of the game.

"It felt good," Craig said. "I wish it would have happened earlier in the game, but it's always nice to hit a home run."

Rafael Furcal had three hits, including a pair of infield singles, and a walk, and is 25 for 49 (.510) during a 12-game hitting streak, but the NL Central leaders struck out 14 times and stranded 10 runners.

The Braves totaled 56 runs during a 7-2 trip, including a pair of extra-inning victories, and also swept a three-game series at Colorado. Since losing its first four games of the season, Atlanta is a major-league best 22-9 with four road series wins.

The Cardinals had runners on first and second with none out in the first before Hanson found his stride, and he struck out five of the next seven batters. Hanson fanned cleanup hitter Craig twice and permitted just one runner in scoring position the next four innings before tiring in the sixth.

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