ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Carpenter's two-run double in the fifth inning helped carry the St. Louis Cardinals past the slumping Atlanta Braves, who shook up their lineup but still lost their seventh in a row, 4-3 Monday night.
Desperate for more offense, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez batted pitcher Aaron Harang eighth and put second baseman Ramiro Pena in the ninth spot.
Pena had two hits, including a seventh-inning homer that brought the Braves within a run, but they couldn't overcome a 4-0 deficit.
The last time the Braves had such a lengthy losing streak was May 21-28, 2012, when they dropped eight in a row. Their longest skid last season four straight.
Taking advantage of shaky defense, Carpenter doubled in two runs and Matt Holiday followed with a run-scoring single. Peter Bourjos had an RBI single in the sixth to extend St. Louis' lead.
Shelby Miller (4-2) got the win and Trevor Rosenthal earned his ninth save. Harang (3-3) took the loss.
The Braves put a runner at second with one out in the ninth against Rosenthal, but he retired Pena on a fly to right and Justin Upton on a called third strike to the game — Upton's fourth strikeout of the night.
Atlanta's woes with runners in scoring position continued. The Braves were 1 for 12 and are 6 of 51 in those situations since their last win.
The game was scoreless until the fifth, when Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons botched two straight grounders to set up the Cardinals for a big inning. Both plays were initially ruled hits, though the scoring on the second play — when Simmons appeared to take his eye off the ball trying to make a force at second — was changed to an error.
After Miller bunted the runners to second and third, Carpenter doubled to center to bring them both in. Holiday hit a hard liner past third baseman Chris Johnson to make it 3-0.
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