Freeman, Garcia shots boost Braves past Cardinals
ST. LOUIS (AP) Expectations were mild for the 14th starting pitcher used by the Atlanta Braves this season.
Roberto Hernandez did enough in his season debut for a team reaching deep into the barrel, and four homers made it look like a rout in the end.
''He knew it wasn't going to overwhelm him because he's been there before,'' interim manager Brian Snitker said after a 13-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night. ''He competed and battled, it's just exactly what we needed.''
The 35-year-old Hernandez (1-0), who previously pitched under the name Fausto Carmona, allowed three runs in five-plus innings in his first start since July 19, 2015 with the Astros.
Hernandez was starter No. 14 for the Braves, tied with the Reds for most in the majors and one off the franchise record in 1975.
''Thank goodness I had this opportunity to pitch in the big leagues again,'' Hernandez said through a translator. ''It was a wonderful experience.''
Freddie Freeman and Adonis Garcia had three-run home runs to give the Braves a 7-2 cushion in the fifth.
Carlos Martinez (10-7) surrendered a season-worst seven runs, and his six earned runs matched his season worst. He entered with a 2.99 ERA and had won six of his previous seven decisions.
''I felt just negative, a little bit of a negative mentality,'' Martinez said through an interpreter. ''But I have faith I'm going to be able to get back right into it.''
Ender Inciarte and Matt Kemp each had two-run homers during a six-run ninth that featured a single and two-run double from pinch-hitter Chase d'Arnaud.
''I got two knocks in an inning, it was really cool,'' d'Arnaud said.
Inciarte had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, and Kemp's 24th of the season off Jonathan Broxton was his first since a trade from San Diego.
Atlanta beat the Cardinals for the first time in five meetings this season. Atlanta is last in the majors with a 40-70 record and 70 homers but has won seven of its last 11.
Kolten Wong had a pinch-hit homer for St. Louis but grounded out with the bases loaded to end the sixth against Ian Krol.
Freeman reached safely all five trips, adding two singles and two walks. He'd been batting just .205 with runners in scoring position before his 19th homer put Atlanta up 4-1 in the third.
Atlanta took the lead in the first after challenging a neighborhood play at second base. The Cardinals lost a challenge in the eighth on Tommy Pham's run-scoring groundout.
''You have super slow-mo HD and it's still hard to tell,'' St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina (bruised finger) was taken out after taking a foul tip that made it tough to grip a bat or throw. Matt Adams pinch hit for him in the eighth and got an RBI double. Leadoff man Matt Carpenter was removed in a double switch in the sixth after coaches detected him holding back on a swing. Both players checked out with no serious injuries. ... LHP Tyler Lyons (right knee) will see a specialist early next week for a stress fracture.
The Braves acquired two prospects, LHP Michael Mader and SS Anfernee Seymour, from the Marlins in exchange for LHP Hunter Cervenka. They filled the roster spot by purchasing the contract of Hernandez from Triple-A Gwinnett.
Braves: Mike Foltynewicz hasn't made it through the sixth his last three outings, allowing 14 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings.
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright has a 1.99 ERA his last six starts and is 8-2 with a 2.95 ERA against Atlanta, which drafted him in the first round in 2000 and traded him to St. Louis in a deal for J.D. Drew in December 2003.