St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Brian McCann's two-run double in the ninth inning was the difference, as the Atlanta Braves rallied late to edge the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-6, in the middle test of a three-game set.
Nate McLouth had three hits, drove in a run and scored for the Braves, who have won three straight and four of five overall. Adam LaRoche knocked in a pair of runs in the win.
Tim Hudson lasted five-plus innings and gave up four runs on 10 hits to get a no-decision. He also stroked the first homer of his career -- a two-run shot in the second inning.
The victory brought the Braves within seven games of first-place Philadelphia in the National League East, and eight games within Colorado for the NL wild card lead.
Colby Rasmus and Brendan Ryan both had two hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, who dropped two straight on the heels of a three-game winning streak. Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa drove in a run each in the setback, as did Joe Thurston and Yadier Molina.
Kyle Lohse lasted 3 1/3 innings and was touched for four runs on seven hits to get a no-decision.
Trailing by two runs in the sixth inning, Rasmus led off with a double and crossed home when DeRosa followed with a single to close it to 5-4.
Mike Gonzalez (4-4) took over on the mound in the eighth and yielded a leadoff walk to DeRosa, who nabbed second. Two batters later, Molina tied it up with an RBI single. Julio Lugo then reached base on Chipper Jones' fielding error and Skip Schumaker followed suit on Martin Prado's gaffe to load the bases. Ryan grounded out to produce a run and give the Cards the lead, 6-5.
Ryan Franklin (2-3) took over in the ninth trying to seal the win, but surrendered a leadoff double to McLouth and Prado followed with a single. Jones drew a walk to load the bases before McCann offered a two-run double to center to give the Bravos a 7-6 edge.
Rafael Soriano worked a 1-2-3 home ninth to notch his 24th save of the year.
The Cardinals got on the board in the first inning. Ryan and Albert Pujols both had one-out singles, before Holliday and Rasmus followed with an RBI base hit each to make it 2-0.
The Braves took the lead in the second stanza. Garret Anderson led off with a single and scored two batters later as LaRoche tripled to center. Matt Diaz flied out but Hudson belted a homer to left field to make it 3-2.
McLouth had an RBI single in the fourth to make it 4-2. Thurston's RBI double in the fourth closed it to one run, though.
LaRoche's sac fly in the fifth gave Atlanta a 5-3 cushion.
The Cardinals dropped two straight games for the first time since July 25-26...Lohse made his first start since August 21. The righty had been out with a groin strain and was in the bullpen briefly upon his return, throwing a perfect inning of relief versus the Brewers on Tuesday...The Cardinals won two of three versus the Braves in Atlanta from April 27-29 and have taken nine of the last 14 meetings in the series.