ATLANTA -- Dropped from first to eighth in the batting order, Andrelton Simmons
was in exactly the right spot Saturday.
The shortstop turned around a 99-mph fastball from reliever Trevor Rosenthal
for a two-out double in the eighth inning that gave the Atlanta Braves a 2-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals
A crowd of 48,312 watched at Turner Field as the Braves were assured of a series victory over the team that ended their season in the National League wild-card game a year ago.
The Cardinals, who lead the National League in runs and batting average, lost the opener, 4-1, on Friday while mustering only four hits and were limited to two this time by Julio Teheran
over seven innings.
Luis Avilan and Craig Kimbrel
, who got his 30th save, retired the Cardinals in order over the last two innings.
Freddie Freeman walked leading off the eighth inning and Brian McCann singled with one out against Randy Choate. Rosenthal came in to strike out Dan Uggla, but Chris Johnson walked before Simmons came through with his double on a 2-and-1 pitch.
The starters were both in command, with Teheran giving up only two doubles and Joe Kelly
of St. Louis working around seven hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Teheran walked one and struck out six, retiring 11 straight batters over one stretch and eight in a row of another. He threw 88 pitches, 53 of them strikes, before being lifted for a pinch hitter.
Kelly wasn't as dominant, but held the Braves scoreless with the help of reliever Sam Maness, who used a double play to get out of a seventh-inning jam. Kelly walked three, one intentionally, and struck out three, throwing 57 of his 86 pitches for strikes.
Matt Holiday, who had missed 10 games because of a tight right hamstring, returned from the disabled list with a first-inning double off Teheran and Allen Craig walked.
But Yadier Molina hit a soft liner back to the pitcher to end the inning and the Braves' right-hander ran his streak of consecutive retired batters to 11 before John Jay doubled in fifth.
Teheran again was up to the challenge, striking out Daniel Descalso and Kelly. Then the rookie fanned Matt Carpenter leading off the sixth for his sixth strikeout in eight batters and ended up retiring the final eight batters he faced.
Joey Terdoslavich followed a single by Andrelton Simmons with a double pinch hitting for Teheran in the seventh.
Jayson Heyward was intentionally walked to load the bases and Maness needed only one pitch to get out of the jam after replacing Kelly, with Justin Upton hitting into a double play.
Kelly, who hadn't pitched since giving up three hits and a run over 5 1/3 innings in a victory over the Cubs in Chicago on July 12, was making his fourth start compared to 21 relief appearances. He made 16 starts last year as a rookie.
It was the 13th quality start in 20 outings for Teheran, who lowered his ERA to 3.07.
NOTES: Still searching for a leadoff hitter, the Braves tried RF Jason Heyward in the spot for the second time this season. ... 1B-OF Brock Peterson was returned to Triple-A Memphis by the Cardinals to clear a roster spot for Matt Holliday. Peterson, making his major league debut, was 1-for-7 with two RBIs in five games. ... RHP Shelby Miller (10-6, 2.77) will start for the Cardinals against RHP Kris Medlen (6-10, 3.78) in the series finale Sunday night. Medlen has allowed 24 hits and 16 earned runs over 14 2/3 innings while losing his last three starts.
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- Andrelton Simmons
- Julio Teheran