The Cardinals scored five times in the seventh inning to get close but came up short in a 6-5 loss to the Braves at Busch Stadium.  Tommy Pham’s three-run homer closed the gap to one for St. Louis, which gave up five in the sixth to fall behind 6-0.  John Gant took the loss.  Pham snapped an 0-for-30 slump with a single in the sixth inning, before his home run in the seventh.  Pham’s average plummetted 30 points during that stretch.

Cardinals first baseman Jose Martinez says having a productive Tommy Pham in their order is critical.

In the three-game sweep by Atlanta, the Cardinals never led and scored all their runs after the seventh inning.  Atlanta’s starting pitchers held the Cardinals to seven hits over a combined 17 2/3 scoreless innings.  All ten of weekend runs scored by St. Louis came after they were already trailing by at least five runs.

After winning four straight games, a season-high, St. Louis has now dropped four straight.

On June 12, the Cardinals were just 2 1/2 games out of first place, but have gone 6-12 since and are now 5 1/2 games out of the Central Division lead and five out in the Wild Card.

>>Cardinals At D’backs Tonight

The Cardinals now head to the desert to open a three-game series with Diamondbacks tonight.  Carlos Martinez is scheduled to pitch for St. Louis and Robbie Ray for Arizona.  The Cards are third in the NL Central at 42-and-40, five-and-a-half games behind the first-place Brewers.