ATLANTA — Atlanta right-hander Dan Winkler broke his elbow throwing a pitch in a 12-7 loss to St. Louis on Sunday.
The defeat left the Braves (0-5) as the only NL team without a win.
Winkler fell to the ground before he could reach the Braves’ dugout and said he was thinking “Not now, not again.”
After missing most of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Winkler threw a pitch behind Randal Grichuk in the seventh inning Sunday and immediately left the mound, holding his right arm to his chest.
Winkler went down to his knees after crossing the first base line in front of the Braves’ dugout and was then assisted to the bench.
Winkler said he “kind of felt something in my elbow” when throwing a slider but “didn’t really think much of it” before he was hurt on his next pitch.
“I heard a crack,” he said. “I knew exactly what it was right when it happened. It didn’t feel good.”
Brandon Moss and Matt Carpenter hit three-run homers for the Cardinals. Drew Stubbs hit a three-run homer for Atlanta and Nick Markakis drove in two runs with three doubles.
The Cardinals completed the three-game sweep despite a poor start from Adam Wainwright, who allowed five runs in five innings.
After rallying for a 7-6 lead in the eighth, the Cardinals put the game away with five runs in the ninth to score 12 runs for the second straight day. Aledmys Diaz hit a two-run double off Jose Ramirez in the ninth before Carpenter’s three-run homer.
The Braves’ previous 0-5 start came in 1988 when they lost their first 10 games.
Winkler spent most of the 2015 season on the disabled list after having elbow surgery in July 2014. Winkler said he hopes the ligament repaired in his 2014 surgery is still intact.
Winkler is out indefinitely.
“It’s definitely a tough blow for us,” Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said.
Winkler made his major league debut late last season and allowed two runs in 1 2-3 innings.
The loss of Winkler adds to Atlanta’s early bullpen woes. The team sent right-hander John Gant to Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday and recalled right-hander Chris Withrow.
Trailing 6-5, the Cardinals scored two runs in the eighth against Jim Johnson (0-1). Jeremy Hazelbaker and Stephen Piscotty had run-scoring singles to give the Cardinals the lead.
St. Louis right-handed reliever Seung Hwan Oh (1-0) had two strikeouts in a scoreless seventh.
Williams Perez gave up four runs in 4 2-3 innings for Atlanta.
FIRST HOMER ALLOWED
The homer by Stubbs was the first allowed by the Cardinals this season. They were the last team in the majors to allow a homer.
The Braves placed center fielder Ender Inciarte on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
Atlanta also optioned right-hander John Gant to Gwinnett, recalled right-hander Chris Withrow from Gwinnett and agreed to terms on a minor league deal with utility player Emilio Bonifacio, who was assigned to Gwinnett. Bonifacio was designated for assignment by the Braves on April 2.
Withrow allowed one run while recording one out in the sixth.
Gant, who had a 12.00 ERA in three games, will work as a starter at Gwinnett.
Cardinals: Manager Mike Matheny said LHP Marco Gonzales, who began the season on the disabled list at Triple-A Memphis, is facing possible left elbow surgery. Gonzales has consulted two doctors. The type of surgery Gonzales is contemplating has not been disclosed. Gonzales was a first-round pick in 2013.
Braves: Withrow missed all of 2015 while recovering from elbow and back surgeries. He said it a relief to be back in the majors after “overcoming some obstacles … surgeries and setbacks.”
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha will make his second career home-opening start on Monday against Milwaukee. Wacha also started the 2014 home opener. He is 2-0 with a 5.87 ERA in four career games, including three starts, against the Brewers.
Braves: RHP Bud Norris will start in Monday’s opener of a four-game series at Washington. Norris (0-1) allowed three runs in seven innings in a 3-1 home loss to the Nationals on Wednesday.