Atlanta (8-12) at St. Louis (13-7)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 91° F
  • Game info: 8:15 pm EDT Wed Apr 28, 2010
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Yadier Molina(notes) may not be as dangerous at the plate as one of his St. Louis Cardinals teammates, but he’s been the source of a lot of pain for the Atlanta Braves this week.

Looking to stretch their longest winning streak of the season to four games, the Cardinals continue a four-game series with the Braves on Wednesday night.

Molina’s RBI double broke an eighth-inning tie Monday in a 4-3 win over the Braves. He followed that up Tuesday with a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth as the Cardinals went on to a 5-4 victory.

“I can’t really tell you what it is because I don’t know,” said Molina, who is hitting just .250 this season, but .303 in his career against Atlanta. “I just come through in those situations because I have confidence in myself.”

One player not lacking in confidence is reigning two-time NL MVP Albert Pujols(notes), who’s hitting .636 over the last three contests. That surge has pushed his batting average from .275 to .325.

Tuesday’s loss was the Braves’ third straight by one run, and season-high seventh in a row—their longest since a 10-game skid in June 2006.

“We played two solid games,” third baseman Chipper Jones(notes) said. “Swung the bats fairly well, played good defense, pitched well. It’s a pitch or a play or an at-bat here or there.”

Rookie phenom Jason Heyward(notes) went 0 for 3 Tuesday, and has gone 1 for 20 during the skid. Former Cardinal Troy Glaus(notes) also went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .200.

Atlanta (8-12) has scored just 13 runs during their losing streak, and that lack of offense has been especially noticeable when Kenshin Kawakami(notes) (0-3, 4.76 ERA), who will take the ball for the Braves, gets on the mound.

Atlanta has averaged 2.1 runs in Kawakami’s three starts in 2010. The right-hander, who hasn’t won since Aug. 31, allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of a 5-2 loss to New York on Friday.

“After giving up that first run, a lot of pressure started coming toward me, because (the lack of run support) was in the back of my mind,” he told the Braves’ official website through a translator.

Kawakami is making his first appearance against the Cardinals.

St. Louis (13-7) will go with Jaime Garcia(notes) (1-1, 1.42), who has dealt with support issues in his last two starts as well. The left-hander pitched six innings against San Francisco on Friday, allowing four runs - two earned - in a 4-1 loss.

“It’s part of the game,” he said referring to the two errors that led to the two unearned runs. “Stuff is going to happen. You have to back up your teammates and limit the damage. You just concentrate on what you can do.”

In his previous start against the Mets on April 17, he gave up one hit in seven innings, but didn’t receive a decision in the 2-1, 20-inning loss.

Garcia has never faced the Braves.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Kawakami Atl vs. J. GarcĂ­a StL
1-10 Record 13-8
5.15 ERA 2.70
59 K 132
32 BB 64
1.49 WHIP 1.32


Wednesday, Apr 28