ATLANTA _ The Cardinals apologized en masse to Jack Flaherty Tuesday night.
After leaving the righthander of the short end of the stick by not scoring in either of his previous two starts, the Cardinals assaulted Atlanta pitching for 11 runs in the first five innings. Home runs by Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler and Yadier Molina accounted for seven of those runs and Flaherty drove in one himself.
Then Kolten Wong added a third, three-run homer in the ninth as the Cardinals delivered a 14-3 tomahawk chop to the Braves at SunTrust Field.
Flaherty pitched no-hit ball for four innings before a succession of three soft hits by the Braves led to three runs in the fifth inning. He walked a season-high five and fanned six over six innings, throwing a high total of 109 pitches, as he gained his fourth win.
But Atlanta righthander Mike Foltynewicz (0-3) now has given up 28 earned runs to the Cardinals in 25 innings, 27 of the runs coming in Atlanta as opposed to just one in two starts in St. Louis.
Foltynewicz, who went on the injured list with a right elbow bone spur in spring training, was tagged for eight runs, including the three homers in the first five innings. Molina knocked Foltynewicz out of the game in the fifth with a three-run bomb, the 150th homer of his career, to deep center to highlight a six-run inning.
OZUNA HOMER JUMP STARTS CARDINALS
Marcell Ozuna had been four for 20 with nine strikeouts against Atlanta Braves righthander Mike Foltynewicz before Tuesday night. But Ozuna inhaled a 2-1 hanging slider and exhaled it over the left-field wall and suddenly the Cardinals suddenly had a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Matt Carpenter walked and Paul DeJong had a bloop single to left before Ozuna cracked his 12th home run, running his runs batted in total to 37.
Later in the inning, Yadier Molina doubled, tying him with Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby for fifth on the Cardinals’ career list at 367.
Ozuna hit a ball even higher and farther to left, but just foul, in the third. But, after he grounded out, Jose Martinez delivered Paul Goldschmidt from second with a bounding single up the middle. Jack Flaherty, who didn’t receive a run of support in either of his past two games, had a 4-0 lead.
Goldschmidt had reached base on a broken-bat single to center.
BADER HAS TO WAIT HIS TURN
Although the Cardinals had lost nine of their past 11 games, manager Mike Shildt trusted the process. He stayed with his regular lineup Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves, which was not the regular lineup when the season began six weeks ago.
Center fielder Harrison Bader has been cleared for full-time duty after recovering from neck stiffness, following a injury list stay with a strained hamstring. It has been a baseball adage that a regular player doesn’t lose his job because of an injury but in the case of Bader, who is batting .200, it is different. The two outfielders who are playing ahead of him are Jose Martinez, hitting .339, and Dexter Fowler at .294.
Shildt said he has had multiple conversations with Bader and said the young righthanded hitter understood the situation. Bader says that is true.
“It is what it is,” said Bader on Tuesday. “Keep a positive mindset. Work hard. And be ready for my name to be called, whenever it is.”
Generally, that has been from the sixth inning on because Bader has been finishing most of the games in the outfield, especially when the Cardinals have been ahead, which hasn’t been all that often lately.
“It’s not really my decision,” said the 24-year-old Bader. “All I can control is my mindset coming to the field and my preparation here. I’m going to do everything I can to help contribute to a victory, whether it’s in the first inning or the ninth. The work never stops, regardless of what the circumstances may be.”
There could be a temptation to try to make up for lost time and lack of results when such a player gets his chance. But Bader said, flatly, “That’s like an adolescent way of looking at things. I don’t think that way. It’s not a professional mindset. It’s the wrong way to think of things.
“Whether you get one at-bat or four at-bats in a game, you just have to be yourself and play your game. Obviously, you want to be in there every single second but because I’m not doesn’t change the way I go about my business.
“That’s a winning attitude and it’s a winning ball club. I’m just looking to get in there any way I can.”
The Atlanta lineup also is the Braves’ regular nine, featuring 2018 National League Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr., as their leadoff man. Hitting fourth will be third baseman Josh Donaldson, an Atlanta free-agent signing whom Cardinals fans seemed to have an exceeding interest in obtaining last offseason.
Mike Foltynewicz, the Braves’ ace last season when he struck out 202 hitters and won 13 games, will be the Atlanta starter against Jack Flaherty.
1. Matt Carpenter 3b
2. Paul Goldschmidt 1b
3. Paul DeJong ss
4. Marcell Ozuna lf
5. Jose Martinez rf
6. Yadier Molina c
7. Dexter Fowler cf
8. Kolten Wong 2b
9. Jack Flaherty p
1. Ronald Acuna Jr. lf
2. Dansby Swanson ss
3. Freddie Freeman 1b
4. Josh Donaldson 3b
5. Nick Markakis rf
6. Ozzie Albies 2b
7. Brian McCann c
8. Ender Inciarte cf
9. Mike Foltynewicz p