ATLANTA (AP) — Randy Choate's unplanned "kick save" got in the way of the Cardinals' chances for a road win.
St. Louis wasted a strong start by Tyler Lyons as Choate (0-1) and Pat Neshek combined to give up the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
With one out in the eighth, Justin Upton singled to center. Freddie Freeman followed with a liner that bounced off Choate's left leg to third baseman Matt Carpenter for an infield hit.
"If it misses me it's a ground ball to (shortstop) Jhonny (Peralta), probably a double play," Choate said. "I didn't feel it. I didn't even see it. It just somehow found me and ricochets off me.
"That's the way it bounces sometimes and it stinks, but what are you going to do? ... I could become skinnier I guess but other than that there's not much you can do about it."
The Braves snapped a seven-game losing streak. The Cardinals fell to 1-6 in games decided in final at-bats.
Choate said he didn't see the ball until it hit him right above his foot.
"It was kind of a kick save after that," he said.
Neshek gave up Chris Johnson's single to right field that drove in Upton and allowed Freeman to advance to third.
Johnson called the at-bat against Neshek's side-arm delivery "a grind."
"It wasn't easy," Johnson said. "That guy is funky. He's nasty. ... That was just a battle between me and him and me trying to get something in play. I was able to finally stay on the ball and kind of go the other way a little bit."
Lyons allowed only one run on four hits, including Upton's homer, in six innings.
"Great start," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It's a shame we haven't been able to score that guy any runs. ... He had everything working today."
The Cardinals have scored only five runs in Lyons' last five road starts.
"It's not a problem," Lyons said. "It doesn't bother me. Those kinds of things I can't really control. ... That kind of stuff will come. It's not something I don't think anyone's worried about right now."