The St. Louis Cardinals’ weekend opener with the Atlanta Braves was delayed 79 minutes by rain. But that didn’t affect Atlanta starter John Smoltz as he pitched 8 solid innings on the way to a 7-2 win for the Braves Friday night at Busch Stadium.
Smoltz (12-6) allowed only 2 earned runs on 6 hits en route to the victory. Cards’ starter Kip Wells (6-14) went 4 innings, surrendering 7 runs, 5 of them earned, on 8 hits to take the loss.
Chris Duncan, who went 1-for-4, had both runs batted in for the Redbirds.
The Cards (61-64) and Braves (67-62) continue their series Saturday night at Busch Stadium. Joel Pineiro (4-2) pitches for St. Louis against Atlanta’s Tim Hudson (15-5).
The Cardinals enter Saturday play 4 games back of the Chicago Cubs and 2.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central Division race. On Friday, the Cubs beat Arizona, while the Brewers lost to San Diego.