ST. LOUIS — When Braves second baseman Tyler Pastornicky backpedaled into shallow right field to catch the popup and Jason Heyward didn’t arrive fast enough to take charge, Kolten Wong got the green light.
The rookie raced home with the tying run on surely the shortest sacrifice fly of Yadier Molina’s career, one of many big plays the St. Louis Cardinals made with their legs in a 4-1 victory over the slumping Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
“By the time I realized I could get there, it would have been tough to call him off,” Heyward said. “Heads up play on their part by sending the runner.”
Wong and Peter Bourjos each had a pair of bunt singles, three of them fueling rallies. Bourjos got picked off after beating out a bunt leading off the third, but squeezed home an insurance run in the seventh.
“I think today was probably one of the best representations of what speed can do for us,” manager Mike Matheny said. “A lot of guys made things happen, getting on base and creating havoc.”
Wong set up the tying run by beating out a bunt to lead off the fourth. He squared around for another hit in the sixth and drew a wild throw from catcher Evan Gattis while stealing second, producing the go-ahead run.
The Cardinals matched their season high with their fourth straight win.
Miller (6-2) allowed a run and five hits in seven innings, one inning longer than his previous high this season. He matched his season best with seven strikeouts, fanning B.J. Upton three times, and called it his best outing of the year “for sure.”
“I felt like we did a really good job of keeping the hitters off-balance and getting ahead in the count,” Miller said. “Just an all-around good day, but at the same time there’s still room for improvement.”