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Late clutch hitting gives the Cards a 4-2 win over Braves
Braves 3 col BW
St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols points to the sky as he celebrates his game-tying, solo home run against the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning Friday in Atlanta. - photo by Associated Press

    ATLANTA — Juan Encarnacion drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth and added a sacrifice fly in the ninth to back seven strong innings from Adam Wainwright as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 on Friday night.

    Winning for the fourth time in five starts, Wainwright (9-7) struck out seven, walked one and allowed six hits. The right-hander lowered his ERA over his last five road starts to 1.86.

    The Cardinals have won four of six following a 10-1 loss to Atlanta on Thursday, but not before closer Jason Isringhausen struggled through the ninth.

    Earning his 19th save in 21 chances, Isringhausen gave up consecutive singles to begin the inning before Julio Franco grounded into a fielder’s choice that left runners on second and third.

    Isringhausen’s wild pitch to pinch-hitter Matt Diaz allowed Jeff Francoeur to score, but Diaz grounded out and Willie Harris flied out to end the game.

    Albert Pujols, who hit his 21st homer in the fourth to make it 1-all, doubled to lead off the St. Louis eighth inning.

    Encarnacion’s RBI single scored Pujols from second with the go-ahead run.

    After moving to second on the throw, Encarnacion advanced to third when the ball bounced off the infield grass past catcher Brian McCann. Left fielder Harris was charged with an error on the throw, and Chris Duncan followed with a pinch-hit RBI single to make it 3-1.

    Both runs came off Rafael Soriano (2-2), who gave up four straight hits before getting his first out.

    Chuck James pitched seven innings, allowing six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

    The Braves had hit 18 homers in their last seven games with St. Louis and had scored 56 runs in the last five.

Notes: James has allowed three earned runs over his last four starts, a span of 24 2-3 innings. ... After Soriano gave up four straight singles to begin the eighth, Aaron Miles grounded into a 4-3-2 fielder’s choice that resulted in pinch-runner So Taguchi being tagged out by McCann.