Duvall, Swanson deliver big hits in 9th to rally Braves
ST. LOUIS — Dansby Swanson hit a tying double with two outs in the ninth inning and Adam Duvall delivered a two-run single as the Braves rallied past the Cardinals 3-1 on Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the NL Division Series.
The Braves had managed just four hits off Adam Wainwright and Andrew Miller before breaking through against closer Carlos Martinez. With two outs and runners on the corners, Swanson tied it at 1 with a drive off the wall in left.
Swanson pumped his arms as he celebrated on second base after his third hit of the game. He came through after an intentional walk to Brian McCann — Swanson’s .187 batting average with runners in scoring position was the lowest in the majors this year among qualified players.
Duvall, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, then hit a liner into center field to put the Braves ahead to stay. It was his second big hit of the series after he connected for a pinch-hit homer in the Braves’ 3-0 victory Friday.
Game 4 is Monday at Busch Stadium. The Braves need one more win to advance to the NL Championship Series for the first time since 2001.
This is the first time the Braves have led a postseason series since they were up 2-1 on the Giants in the 2002 NLDS. They lost the final two games that year.
The Cardinals wasted a terrific performance by Wainwright, who pitched 72⁄3 innings of four-hit ball in his first postseason start since 2014. The 38-year-old Georgia native and former Braves draft pick struck out eight and walked two in his first postseason start since 2014.
In the age of bullpens taking over in October, Wainwright and Mike Soroka locked up in an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel. But the relievers ultimately decided the game.
Wainwright departed after he walked Ozzie Albies on his 120th pitch, loading the bases in the first playoff game in St. Louis in four years. He got a big hug on the mound from catcher Yadier Molina and the sellout crowd saluted Wainwright with a standing ovation as he walked off the field.
Miller then came in and retired Freddie Freeman on a flyball to center, ending the inning and preserving a 1-0 lead.
But Martinez was hit hard for the second time in the series. He allowed three runs before he closed out the Cardinals’ 7-6 victory in Game 1.
After the Braves grabbed the lead Sunday, Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his second save of the playoffs. Paul Goldschmidt doubled with one out, but Marcell Ozuna struck out looking and Molina lined out to end the game.
Adam Duval hits the game-winning two-run single during the ninth inning of the Braves’ 7-5 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday in St. Louis. The Braves lead the series 2-1.