Albies, Contreras take Martínez deep, Braves beat Cards 9-1

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ATLANTA (AP) — Ozzie Albies and William Contreras homered off Carlos Martínez in a four-run second inning, Max Fried allowed two hits in seven innings, and the Atlanta Braves beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-1 on Friday night.

Contreras’ seventh homer, a solo shot to left, made it 2-1, and Ronald Acuña Jr. kept the inning alive by walking, stealing second base and scoring on Freddie Freeman’s single. Albies, who went 3 for 5 with three RBIs, followed with his 10th homer, a two-run shot to right that put Atlanta up 5-1.

The three-time defending NL East champion Braves, who began the night 6 1/2 games back in the division, have won two straight after losing six of seven. St. Louis, which began the night four games back in the NL Central, has dropped five straight and eight of nine on the road.

The Cardinals were outhit 11-3 and have mustered one run the last two nights at Truist Park.

Fried (4-4) gave up one run and two walks with six strikeouts. The left-hander is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in his last eight starts since returning from the injured list with a right hamstring strain.

Martínez (3-8) lost his fourth straight decision, giving up eight runs, eight hits and four walks. The right-hander is 1-6 with a 7.52 ERA in eight starts on the road this season.

Atlanta tied it at 1-all in the first when Albies hit his 21st double, third-most in the NL, and scored on Austin Riley’s single.

The Cardinals led 1-0 in the first. Tommy Edman doubled, advanced on a grounder and scored on Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI groundout.

The Braves plated four runs and batted around for a 9-1 lead in the fourth. Acuña was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on Freeman’s single and scored on Albies’ single. Freeman scored on Abraham Almonte’s single, Albies scored on Riley’s sacrifice fly and Almonte scored on a bases-loaded walk to Fried.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals 2B Edmundo Sosa was back in the lineup after getting hit in the right hand by a pitch Wednesday against Miami and went 1 for 3.

MOVING ON UP

Acuña went 0 for 1 with two walks and two hit by pitch, reaching safely for his 26th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the major leagues and the second-longest streak of his career. He had a 32-game run from June 19-July 28, 2019.

NICE MOVES

Yadier Molina threw out Acuña in a stolen base attempt in the first. Shortstop Paul DeJong applied the tag on the headfirst slide. ... Fried picked off Sosa 1-3-4 to end the second. ... Acuña got some payback by stealing his 15th base in the second. ... Cardinals LF Tyler O’Neill ran hard to his left to track down Dansby Swanson’s fly on the warning track in the sixth.

SLUMPING

Cardinals 3B Nolan Arenado is 0 for his last 20. His average has dropped 20 points to .266 over that span.

UP NEXT

RHP Adam Wainwright (4-5, 3.95) pitches for the Cardinals, and LHP Drew Smyly (3-3, 5.63) takes the mound for Atlanta as the teams continue a four-game series. Wainwright is 9-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 14 career starts and five relief appearances against the Braves. Smyly will face St. Louis for the second time in his career.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

George Henry, The Associated Press

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