- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Gavin Floyd was impressive in his first start in a year, giving the Braves a chance to end their longest losing streak in two years.

Justin Upton homered and scored the tiebreaking run on Chris Johnson’s eighth-inning single, and the Atlanta Braves beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 on Tuesday night to end their seven-game skid.

“That felt good,” Johnson said. “It’s big. We weren’t panicking too much. We were relaxed, even though we lost seven in a row.”

Floyd allowed one run on six hits in seven innings.

He made his first major league start since April 27, 2013, for the White Sox against Tampa Bay. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery 10 days later, and his comeback included six minor league rehab starts this year.

“It felt good,” Floyd said. “There were a lot of emotions, a lot of excitement through this process leading up to it and getting back out there … not only starting for the first time but trying to get us back on the winning side.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had modest expectations for Floyd’s return.

“I didn’t expect that really,” Gonzalez said. “I expected a guy who was going to scuffle through five, six innings for the first time out. He hadn’t been in competition in a year but he sure came out with flying colors. You couldn’t ask for anything more.

“He was really, really good for the first time in a year.”

David Carpenter (2-0) had two strikeouts in the eighth. Craig Kimbrel added two more strikeouts in a perfect ninth for his ninth save.

With one out in the eighth, Upton singled to center. Freddie Freeman followed with a liner that bounced off the leg of Randy Choate (0-1) and bounced to third baseman Matt Carpenter for an infield hit.

Right-hander Pat Neshek gave up 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.”

Choate was left to bemoan Freeman’s shot that hit his leg, setting up Johnson’s run-scoring hit.

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