Wong sends Cards to walk-off win over Braves
Komatsu drives in a pair to help St. Louis split-squad rally
JUPITER, Fla. -- Kolten Wong plated the winning run for the Cardinals with a walk-off RBI single in the ninth as a St. Louis split squad topped the Braves, 5-4, on Monday in a game that featured a combined 19 walks between both pitching staffs.
Cardinals closer Jason Motte inherited a one-run lead in the ninth but couldn't convert the save opportunity. After issuing a one-out walk, Motte allowed Braves outfielder Jordan Parraz to tie the game with a triple into the right-field corner.
The Cardinals had taken the lead just a half-inning earlier when Minor Leaguer Amaury Cazana doubled home Ryan Jackson with two out. That run was charged to Braves pitcher Adam Russell, who has now been scored upon in his last two appearances.
Atlanta starter Brandon Beachy extended himself out with a three-inning, 65-pitch outing on Monday. He allowed just two hits -- both singles -- but also issued five walks, including one with the bases full. Beachy struck out two. In five Grapefruit League innings, the young righty has now walked seven batters.
Lack of efficiency kept Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia from lasting more than two innings. Garcia needed 40 pitches to finish the second inning, and he allowed his first run of the spring. All three hits Garcia allowed were singles, but back-to-back base hits by Michael Bourn and Martin Prado in the first put Atlanta in position to take the early 1-0 lead. Garcia also walked two in the start.
The Braves broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of runs off Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly in the third. Andrelton Simmons walked, swiped second and scored on Prado's second single to push across Atlanta's second run. A single by Freddie Freeman later in the frame plated another. Kelly rebounded to strike out the side in the fourth.
Jonny Venters breezed through a 1-2-3 fifth for Atlanta before running into trouble in his second inning of work. The first three Cardinals hitters he faced in the inning reached. Sacrifice flies by Erik Komatsu and Jackson tied the game at 3-3.
Cardinals pitchers Trevor Rosenthal, Scott Linebrink and Kyle McClellan all made scoreless appearances in relief. Atlanta's Cristhian Martinez and Craig Kimbrel also each threw a scoreless inning. Kimbrel issued two walks to begin the seventh but wiggled out of the trouble with the help of two strikeouts.
Up next: Adam Wainwright will take the mound for his second Grapefruit League start on Tuesday, when St. Louis visits the Mets in a 12:10 p.m. CT contest. The game can be seen on MLB.TV. Wainwright, who missed all of 2011 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut. He will be pitching on three days' rest. Scheduled to follow Wainwright on the mound are Brandon Dickson, Marc Rzepczynski, J.C. Romero, Maikel Cleto and Victor Marte.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.