ATLANTA (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt, Masyn Winn, Willson Contreras and Nolan Gorman went deep as the St. Louis Cardinals hit four home runs for the second straight game and beat the MLB-leading Atlanta Braves 11-6 Wednesday night to take the first two games of the three-game series.
Gorman hit his 27th homer of the season, one day after hitting two home runs as the NL Central-worst Cards beat the Braves 10-6.
Dakota Hudson (6-1) outpitched NL Cy Young Award hopeful Spencer Strider, allowing three runs and seven hits in five innings.
Strider (16-5) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on six hits, including a home run. Strider had won his last four starts.
“It was an inability to make adjustments,” Strider said. “I have to give us a chance to win.”
The Braves, who entered the series against St. Louis coming off an 8-2 road trip, had won their last eight series, dating to Aug. 4-6 against the Chicago Cubs. They’ll try to salvage a game in the series finale on Thursday.
“Things were not going well (for Strider), and that’s going to happen,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker. “He’ll move on and improve from it. To feel this experience is good.”
Matt Olson hit his MLB-leading 46th home run, and Austin Riley also homered for the Braves.
Gorman’s three-run home run in the eighth inning off Dylan Lee put the game out of reach for the Cardinals.
The Braves closed a 7-2 deficit with three runs in the sixth inning. Olson led off with a home run and Michael Harris had a two-run double. With the tying runs on first and third, Ronald Acuña Jr. ended the threat by grounding into a double play.
“We’re capable of turning this around and going on a nice run,” Snitker said.
The Cardinals struck for four runs in the first inning. Goldschmidt gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead after just two batters with a 406-foot home run over the Cardinals’ bullpen in left field, his 23rd of the season. Three batters later, Contreras knocked in Gorman from third with a grounder to second, and Alec Burleson followed with an RBI single that scored Nolan Arenado. Burleson was thrown out at second on the play by Acuña, but the Cardinals held a 4-0 lead and forced Strider to throw 26 pitches.
Contreras pushed the lead to 5-0 in the third with a ground ball single past a diving Orlando Arcia that scored Gorman. Burleson picked up another RBI on a fielder’s choice.
Contreras hit his 17th homer of the season in the seventh inning, and Winn hit his first of the year in the sixth.
“I was looking for something off speed,” Winn said. “I am happy it got out.”
Snitker presented Cardinals veteran RHP Adam Wainwright a framed photo of his 2002 Futures Game appearance as a top prospect. Snitker managed Wainwright in the Braves minor league system before he was traded to the Cardinals in 2003. Wainwright has announced this will be the final season of his 18-year career, and the Georgia native will start for the Cardinals on Thursday.
“He’s had an unbelievable career and he’s a wonderful person,” Snitker said. “He has done so much for the St. Louis community. I’m really proud of him.”
Braves: Snitker said RHP Michael Soroka, who was placed on the 15-day injured list earlier Wednesday, is out for the season with forearm inflammation. He will not require surgery. Reliever Collin McHugh were placed on the 15-day injured list Wednesday. The Braves recalled right-handers Darius Vines and Ben Heller from Triple-A Gwinnett. Braves RHP Kyle Wright will make at least one more rehab start. Wright has been out since May 3 with shoulder soreness.
Soroka, who has suffered two major leg injuries in his career, started Tuesday and lasted three innings before complaining of numbness in his fingers.
“He came out of the game and told me his fingers were numb,” Snitker said. “I admire him for everything he’s been through and this is another situation for him.”
The 2 2/3 inning outing from Strider matched his shortest of the season. Against the Pirates on Aug. 7, Strider also surrendered six runs in 2 2/3 innings. … Vines had a pitch-clock violation in the fifth inning facing Tommy Edman. It was the Braves’ 21st of the season. … Acuña Jr. snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a single in the ninth inning.
Braves LHP Max Fried (6-1, 2.52) will face veteran Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (3-10, 8.10) in the final game of the three-game series. Wainwright, who has lost nine straight decisions, is seeking career win No. 199.