ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The ageless one continues to produce.
Two weeks shy of his 46th birthday,
came off the bench to deliver a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning as the
posted a 9-7 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in a battle of division leaders.
The bottom of the seventh started when right fielder
's fly ball in the sun for a double. Former Brave
(4-2) walked J.D. Drew and, after
popped up, Franco batted for
, prompting Cardinals manager
Tony La Russa
to bring in
But the move backfired as Franco laced Tavarez's first pitch into the right field corner, which cleared the bases and erased a 7-6 deficit for the third lead change of the game.
"Last night, I swung at the first pitch and he threw me a sinker inside and I rolled it over," said Franco, who was 3-for-12 with three walks lifetime against Tavarez before the double.
"I was looking for a pitch where I could get inside and go the other way and I got it," Tavarez added. "I don't think I made the pitch where I wanted to. The veteran guy that he is, he won't miss many of them."
, another pinch hitter, followed with an RBI single to give the Braves a 9-7 advantage.
"I could have had a welder's mask on and I wouldn't have gotten to that ball," Walker of his inning starting miscue. "Glasses are good for balls around the sun, but when it is in the sun, a welder's mask wouldn't have gotten to it."
St. Louis starter
was pounded by his former team, giving up a career-high four home runs in his first appearance against Atlanta. He surrendered six runs and 10 hits in five innings to join fellow Atlanta castaways
with the dubious distinction of having nine-plus ERAs against their former club.
"I wanted to go out and have a good showing, but it went the other way," Marquis said. "My team kept coming back giving me a chance to win, but I kept letting them down."
lead the onslaught against Marquis by smashing two long home runs.
also homered against Marquis as the five Atlanta starters who played with Marquis were a combined 9-for-13 against him.
"We just kept the pressure on him," said
, who collected his 29th career multi-homer game. "He made a mistake with the first home run, he got a sinker up. When he was down in the zone, he was nasty. On the second home run, I anticipated him doing that."
also was hit hard, yielding six runs and eight hits in five frames.
hit his 34th and 35th homers of the season off Ortiz, tying
for the major league lead.
"(If you see) a mistake, you want to put a good swing on it," Pujols said. "That's what happened.
(6-4) picked up the win, despite giving up a run in the top of the seventh.
got the final four outs for his 29th save.
"It was one of the best games I've ever played in," Jones said. "It was a roller coaster from a momentum standpoint."
Both the Braves and the Cardinals are a major-league best 21-7 since the All-Star Break.