Beachy outpitches Wainwright in win

ST. LOUIS -- Somewhere Gene Kerns is smiling.

The Braves scout who discovered Brandon Beachy and his dynamic fastball at a Virginia wood bat summer league in 2008, had to get a kick out of watching the undrafted free agent get the better of Adam Wainwright Saturday night -- a former first round draft pick of the Braves in 2000, and now 20-game winner with the Cardinals.

Granted, Wainwright was not his usual self. He’s seven starts into his return from elbow reconstruction surgery, and it showed in a 7-2 loss, as the Braves got the Glynn Academy product for five runs in 4 1/3 innings, their first win in his seven starts against them.

But Beachy was his usual self, and that meant in command. The undrafted free agent out of Indiana-Wesleyan now in his second full season, used the 2-0 lead he was spotted in the first inning to work into a nice rhythm.

Beachy allowed only one run on two hits over in six innings to lower his season ERA to 1.60 and move to 4-1.

“He’s one of those up and coming young studs that just continues to get better,” Dan Uggla said of Beachy, whom he believes is actually very similar to Wainwright. “They both throw low to mid-90s. They’ve both got great curveballs, really can throw any pitch at any time. You’re going to be tough to hit when you’ve got that kind of stuff and you’re on.”

Beachy is on. He has won both of his starts on this three-city trip to help the Braves move to 6-2 with one game left Sunday.

The Braves have a chance to sweep the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, where they’d lost their previous seven games entering this weekend series. With their victory Saturday night, the Braves secured their first series win in St. Louis since sweeping them Sept. 11-13, 2009.

“The way we’re hitting the ball right now, if I can throw some zeros up there we’ve got a good chance to be out front and in control,” Beachy said.

Brian McCann had his first multi-hit game in a week, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Michael Bourn hit his first home run of the season, and first since Aug. 19, 2011, ending a drought of 305 at-bats since his previous home run against Arizona’s Daniel Hudson.

Beachy, meanwhile, quieted Carlos Beltran after he’d had four hits, including two home runs on Friday night, holding him hitless in his first two at-bats. Beachy didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning, and not one through the infield until the sixth inning.

Rafael Furcal led off the sixth with a single and moved to third on back-to-back four-pitch walks to Beltran and Matt Holliday. Beachy regrouped, allowing only a sacrifice fly to Allen Craig, then got out of the inning on a double-play ball.

“It happens every game,” Beachy said. “There are always a couple batters where the feel of things gets away from me, and usually it happens a little earlier in the game than that and I find it again eventually. I’ve got to work to find it quicker.”

On the other end of the spectrum was Wainwright, who got wild to three straight batters in the first inning, including back-to-back walks with the bases loaded to give the Braves a 2-0 lead before Beachy even took the mound.

Wainwright threw 30 pitches before recording his first out. But he was doing well only to be down 2-0 though after the Braves came up fruitless in three at-bats with the bases loaded.

The Braves loaded the bases twice more on Wainwright before Tyler Pastornicky broke through with an infield single in the fifth inning. Beachy followed with a single, his second hit of the year, to drive in a run and end Wainwright’s night.

“He didn’t really have command of his curveball tonight,” said Chipper Jones, who was 1-for-4. “And I think any of us will tell you, if he has his curveball he’s going to be very, very hard to beat. But when he doesn’t, he’s got to come to you.”

Wainwright, the 29th pick in the 2000 draft, had won all six of his previous starts against the Braves, with a 2.48 ERA.

“We were due,” Jones said.