ATLANTA (AP) — Austin Riley homered and drove in three runs, Ian Anderson allowed one run in a bounce-back start, and the Atlanta Braves beat the struggling St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 on Tuesday night.
Riley hit a two-run homer, his 21st, and William Contreras also went deep in the first inning as Atlanta took a 5-0 lead. Matt Olson drove in two runs with two hits, including a first-inning single after Ronald Acuña Jr. singled and stole second.
Anderson (7-5) allowed eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, getting an inning-ending groundout from Dylan Carlson.
Anderson had allowed a combined 11 earned runs in back-to-back losses.
The Cardinals have lost three straight and five of six. They began the night three games behind division-leading Milwaukee in the NL Central.
The Braves, second in the NL East behind the New York Mets, have won the first two games of the four-game series.
Cardinals rookie right-hander Andre Pallante was pulled in the fourth after allowing consecutive run-scoring doubles to Olson and Riley, who finished with three hits. Pallante (2-4) allowed career highs of seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings — his shortest of six starts.
The defending champion Braves hope Anderson can show his 6.91 ERA in six June starts was an aberration.
“He went from taking a shutout into the seventh inning to having a couple of rough starts,” manager Brian Snitker said of Anderson before the game. “It happens. Hopefully he can find himself and get back to where he wants to be and get on a little run the other way.”
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol juggled his lineup, moving slumping Tommy Edman from the cleanup spot to seventh. Rookie Brendan Donovan hit leadoff.
Edman was held without a hit as left-hander Tyler Matzek made a backhanded grab of his grounder in the eighth. Donovan had one hit as the Cardinals stranded 10 runners.
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