St. Louis, MO – Jason Heyward's two-run homer in the top of the 12th inning lifted the Atlanta Braves over the St. Louis Cardinals, 9-7, in the opener of a three-game series.
Dan Uggla added a solo homer for the Braves, who improved to 5-2 on a nine- game road trip. Freddie Freeman, Tyler Pastornicky, Chipper Jones and Brian McCann added an RBI apiece.
Atlanta starter Mike Minor gave up six runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. Livan Hernandez (1-0) pitched two scoreless frames of relief to pick up his first win in a Braves uniform.
"We did a great job as a team picking everybody up. This was a total team win tonight and those are fun," said Uggla.
Carlos Beltran hit a pair of homers and finished a single shy of the cycle for the Cardinals, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig each hit solo home runs.
Jaime Garcia gave up five runs -- four earned -- on nine hits over 5 2/3 frames, while Kyle McClellan (0-1) surrendered two walks and the hit to Heyward over two innings in the setback.
Former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who won two World Series titles with the club, had his No. 10 jersey retired in a pre-game ceremony. It was the 12th number to be retired by the Cardinals organization.
McClellan, who pitched a scoreless 11th, stayed on for the 12th. Jones led off with a walk and crossed the plate on Heyward's blast to left-center field.
The Braves jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the first inning. Michael Bourn singled, Martin Prado doubled and Freeman walked to load the bases with no outs. After Uggla struck out swinging, Bourn crossed the plate on a passed ball. Following another out, Prado scored on the second passed ball of the frame.
Carpenter's second homer of the season in the second made it a 2-1 game.
Atlanta responded with a three-run third to take a 5-1 lead. Uggla hit a ground-rule double to right and scored on McCann's ground-rule double to right. Jones followed with an RBI single to left-center field. With two outs, Pastornicky hit an RBI ground-rule-double to right.
St. Louis cut the gap to 5-3 in the fourth on back-to-back homers. With one out, Beltran smacked the ball into the third deck in left. Craig followed with a blast over the wall in right.
The Cardinals tacked on three more runs in the fifth to go in front. With two outs, Rafael Furcal and Jon Jay hit consecutive singles. Matt Holliday then hit an RBI double down the left-field line. Beltran followed with a two-run triple off the top wall in left-center field, giving the home team a 6-5 edge.
Uggla's homer to left in the seventh made it a 6-6 contest.
Atlanta loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth. Freeman stepped to the plate and drove in a run with an infield single.
But Beltran's homer to left-center field in the bottom half of the frame made it 7-7.
The Cardinals stranded a runner on third in the ninth. Skip Schumaker led off with an infield single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on Jay's groundout. But Holliday flied out to send the game into extras.
St. Louis had a great chance to win the game in the 10th. Beltran started the frame with a double to right-center field off Hernandez. Craig and Carpenter walked to load the bases with one out, but pinch-hitter David Freese grounded into a double play.
The Cardinals wasted another golden opportunity in the 11th. With the bases loaded and two outs, Craig popped out to shallow center field.
"It was certainly a tough one but the guys fought hard to get us back in that game. We had some opportunities to finish it off but we just couldn't make it happen," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
St. Louis went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11...Beltran went 4-for-5 with a walk to extend his hitting streak to six games. He has five homers and 13 RBI in that time...Atlanta's Eric Hinske was ejected by home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski in the top of the eighth after striking out...La Russa wore No. 10 longer than anyone in club history (1996-2011), with the next closest being Mike Tyson from 1972-78.