ST. LOUIS — Pinch-hitter Stephen Piscotty got his first career RBI with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and Carlos Martinez outdueled former teammate Shelby Miller as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0 on Saturday night.
The Cardinals won their fifth in a row despite getting just two hits. They lead the majors with a 63-34 record.
Martinez (11-4) made his first post-All-Star break start and allowed six hits in eight innings with six strikeouts and one walk, which was intentional. He worked the last four innings and took the loss in an 18-inning setback to the Mets on Sunday.
Randy Choate got the last two outs for his first save. Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal has gotten two games off after working three in a row.
Miller (5-7) allowed a run on two hits in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander is 0-6 in his last 12 games, the longest winless slump by a Braves starter since Kenshin Kawakami went 14 games between victories in 2010.
Kolten Wong had a leadoff double in the first and St. Louis didn’t get another hit until Yadier Molina opened the eighth with a single.
Randal Grichuk then walked, and Pete Kozma pinch-ran for Molina and advanced on a fly out. Kozma beat the throw home from Nick Markakis on Piscotty’s flyball to medium right field.
Miller retired 12 in a row ending the seventh. The former first-round Cardinals’ draft pick spent his first three seasons with St. Louis before getting dealt to Atlanta in the offseason for outfielder Jason Heyward.
The trade came after the death of promising Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras. Martinez inherited Miller’s spot in the rotation, dedicating the season to Taveras.
The Braves loaded the bases with two outs in the second before Martinez struck out Miller.
Braves: Freddie Freeman, activated from the 15-day DL from a wrist injury, flied out as a pinch hitter in the seventh and finished the game at first base. He’d been scheduled to play a second rehab game in Double-A Orlando that was rained out, so he flew to St. Louis and arrived not long before game time.
Cardinals: One sterling rehab start, five innings of no-hit ball, was enough for LHP Jaime Garcia to show he’s ready to rejoin the rotation early next week. He’s been out with a strained left groin since July 4 and will start either Tuesday or Wednesday against Cincinnati.
Braves: Just like Miller, rookie Matt Wisler (4-1, 3.60) will be facing the Cardinals for the first time. Michael Wacha (11-3, 3.20) has 93 strikeouts and needs one more to set a career best.