- Associated Press - Saturday, April 9, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Braves again were beaten by pinch-hitters.

This loss came with a major league record.

The St. Louis Cardinals became the first team to hit three pinch-hit home runs in a game while they rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Braves 7-4 Friday night.

The record-breaking power display by the Cardinals’ bench players came two days after Washington’s Matt den Dekker had a tiebreaking, two-run double as a pinch-hitter in the Nationals’ 3-1 win over the Braves.

“I think pinch-hitters right now have got about six RBI against us,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.



Atlanta couldn’t hold a 4-0 lead against the Cardinals.

Rookie Aledmys Diaz got his first career homer to break a tie as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. Greg Garcia and rookie Jeremy Hazelbaker also had pinch-hit homers in the Cardinals’ first win.

Hazelbaker homered off Matt Wisler in the seventh to tie the game at 4. Garcia and Stephen Piscotty homered in the ninth.

Hazelbaker said players started wondering about a possible record after the first two pinch-hit homers.

“In the dugout we were thinking what happens if GG (Garcia) gets one here,” Hazelbaker said. “Sure enough, he got a good one. It was a pretty exciting time. To pull out the win made it even sweeter.”

Kevin Siegrist (1-0) threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings before Trevor Rosenthal pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

The homer by Diaz into the left field seats came on the second pitch from left-hander Eric O’Flaherty (0-2).

“That was big,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “… That gave us a chance to get to our bullpen and try to shut the door.”

St. Louis, swept in its opening three-game series at Pittsburgh, avoided its first 0-4 start since 1997. The Braves are 0-3.

The Braves scored four runs on five hits off Jaime Garcia in the third inning but didn’t have another hit as they remained winless.

“I’m really confident we’re going to win a game,” Gonzalez said. “We’re playing good baseball. It’s just one inning or one play kind of gets us these last three games.”

Wisler’s leadoff single started the third inning that included consecutive run-scoring singles by Nick Markakis, Hector Olivera and Tyler Flowers.

Jaime Garcia pitched out of trouble after two errors by shortstop Jedd Gyorko - one throwing, one fielding - put runners on first and second with no outs in the first. Adonis Garcia hit into a double play to end the inning.

Jaime Garcia gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in six innings.

Wisler allowed four runs on seven hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings.

CHACIN COMING UP

Braves veteran RHP Jhoulys Chacin threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday and will join the Atlanta rotation on Tuesday at Washington. “He went down there and pitched like a major league starter,” Gonzalez said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: CF Ender Inciarte left the game with tightness in his left hamstring after reaching on Gyorko’s throwing error in the first inning. Inciarte’s status is day to day.

Inciarte said the hamstring felt tighter as he ran down the first base line.

“I feel like I stopped right before it popped,” Inciarte said, adding he’ll know more about his status on Saturday. Drew Stubbs replaced Inciarte as a pinch-runner and in center field.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his second start after receiving a no decision while allowing two runs in six innings against Washington. Teheran is 1-1 with a 1.89 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals, including six scoreless innings in a 2-0 win in the final regular season series last year.

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