Braves closer Kenley Jansen blows save in costly, painful loss to Cardinals

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kenley Jansen reacts after giving up a bases-loading walk to St. Louis Cardinals' Tyler O'Neill, scoring Paul Goldschmidt to give the Cardinals a 6-5 victory in a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kenley Jansen reacts after giving up a bases-loading walk to St. Louis Cardinals' Tyler O'Neill, scoring Paul Goldschmidt to give the Cardinals a 6-5 victory in a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS – Braves closer Kenley Jansen, who has pitched well this season, blew his fifth save of the season as the Cardinals defeated Atlanta, 6-5, in walk-off fashion Saturday night.

Here are five observations on the Braves (79-49):

1. On other nights, Jansen could have faced much tougher questions. He had entered the bottom of the ninth with a one-run lead, only to blow the save and the game, walking in the winning run. A nightmare played out before the Braves’ eyes.

But this feels like a shallow view during this stretch of Braves baseball. Atlanta has been so successful lately.

“It’s a bad one and you just got to shake it off,” Jansen said. “It’s been a while that I’ve had one like this.”

He’s right: Saturday marked Jansen’s first blown save since June 26 against the Dodgers, his former team. After that, he had allowed three earned runs over 14 2/3 innings – while converting all nine of his save opportunities – until this rough outing.

The Braves had won four straight games, seven of eight and 15 of 17 before St. Louis scored two runs on Jansen to walk it off.

“This one is just the one that you just got to let it go,” Jansen said. “It’s a weird one and don’t even worry about it. Tomorrow’s another day and that’s the beauty of this game, that I get to face the same hitters again and I can go to work again and get back on track. ... You just got to let it go.”

NL East update: The Mets beat the Rockies 3-0. The Braves trail New York by three games.

2. After getting an out, Jansen gave up a double to Brendan Donovan on an outer-half pitch that he wanted to throw inside. Then he walked Paul Goldschmidt, who could win the National League MVP this season, before hitting Nolan Arenado to load the bases.

“Everything was flat,” Jansen said. “The ball was cutting.”

The Cardinals scored a run on Corey Dickerson’s infield single. They won the game when Jansen walked in the winning run on five pitches.

The sold-out crowd partied while the Braves slowly walked off the field.

“It’s a weird one,” Jansen said. “I’m not even gonna lose sleep over this one. The great thing is we got another day tomorrow and just come out here against these guys. Listen, man, we’re all human and of course we don’t want to ever blow a game, but that’s the nature of the game. You’ve got your ups, you’ve got your downs and you got to fight through it. It’s happened with me many times, so I know how to come back and get back on top.”

3. One play symbolized the adage, “That’s baseball.”

With one out and the bases loaded, Jansen got exactly what he wanted versus Dickerson: A grounder.

The only issue: Dickerson hit it 76.7 mph, far too slow for Dansby Swanson to try and turn a game-ending double play. Swanson charged it, but didn’t have a play. Jansen said the infield had been playing in before that at-bat, but moved back to try and turn the double play.

“Credit to him,” Jansen said of Dickerson. “He fought it off and got that hit right there, and that was the one.”

“That’s kind of the difference in winning and losing,” manager Brian Snitker said.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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4. Charlie Morton took accountability for allowing four runs over five innings.

“The guys scored runs, they made some great plays, the bullpen did a great job,” he said. “Giving up four runs, that put the guys in a really tough spot. Overall, I don’t see anything bad (with the team) other than the fact that I didn’t do my job.”

In the fourth inning, Morton left a cutter over the plate and Andrew Knizner crushed a two-run home run. In the fifth, Morton threw a curveball over the dish and Arenado put it over the wall for another two-run homer.

Morton did not look sharp. He walked three batters and allowed five hits.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Braves jumped out to a four-run lead with a three-run homer from Travis d’Arnaud and a run-scoring single from Michael Harris. An inning later, Austin Riley doubled home a run.

5. No doubt, this one stings. The Braves probably will not let it distract them from the larger picture.

“It’s going to happen,” Snitker said. “It’s a tough game. You hate to lose any of them. Guys fought their (rear) off. It’s part of it. We just have to handle it. We have before and we will again, and come out and win a game tomorrow, win the series.”

Stat to know

29 - Jansen is tied for the MLB lead with 29 saves.

Quotable

“Unfortunately, this happened in the ninth. You don’t want to come and give it up, but it’s baseball, man. This game is tough, it’s hard. I know how to just get back – take it like a champ and get back and come back tomorrow, and we’ll fight again.” - Jansen

Up next

Jake Odorizzi will face Cardinals icon Adam Wainwright on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, which begins at 7:08 ET.

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