Error costs Braves against Cardinals

Error costs Braves against Cardinals

ATLANTA -- With his belongings packed and destined for Anaheim, Mark Teixeira strolled out of Turner Field before the start of Tuesday's game as the Braves were left to pick up the pieces of their lost season.

And if anything is certain after another late-inning meltdown resulted in another Braves loss, it's this: more changes are to come.

"I'd imagine it's the first in a steady line of moves, to be honest," Chipper Jones said after watching Braves relievers allow five ninth-inning runs in an 8-3 loss to the Cardinals. "[Moves] pointing toward a positive end to this year and a positive start to next year."

The Braves have now lost four straight games and are in danger of parting with at least one more player -- most likely left-handed reliever Will Ohman -- before Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

But the biggest blow -- and the official sign that the Braves are conceding their disappointing season and looking toward the future -- came approximately an hour and a half before the first pitch, when the Braves announced that they had traded Teixeira to the Angels in exchange for first baseman Casey Kotchman and Minor League right-hander Stephen Marek.

Right fielder Jeff Francoeur took batting practice with Teixeira before the start of Tuesday's game, and before rain forced the Braves inside the clubhouse. Less than a half-hour later, the deal was announced.

"It was just a tough day, losing Tex," Francoeur said. "It'll be nice to get Casey here tomorrow, and more than anything else, once this Trade Deadline is done, it'll be a lot better for us, just being able to go back out there and play baseball again. We all knew that this part was coming, but we've got to play with what we've got."

True, but the Braves currently have their best players on the bench. Jones was placed on the disabled list Monday with a strained left hamstring, and three-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann missed his second straight start with a mild concussion.

But even with those two players in the lineup, the Braves will surely miss Teixeira's bat and his Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base. His 78 RBIs are 15 more than anyone else on a team that figured to contend for the World Series this season.

"It's tough to come to grips with, because we certainly felt like coming off Spring Training, we'd be in the middle of things this year," Jones said. "It's a tough pill to swallow, to know Tex won't be with us the remainder of the season and we have no chance of re-signing him. That's just the business of baseball."

So the Braves trudged on Tuesday night, suffering another humbling defeat.

Jorge Campillo, whose start Sunday was cut short after a near two-hour rain delay, scattered seven hits and two runs over seven strong innings. He said he tried to envision that he was back in a reliever's role, focusing more on this appearance and not his last one, which lasted just 1 2/3 innings.

"Campillo pitched a great game, another super outing by him," said Braves manager Bobby Cox.

Campillo was actually working with a 2-1 lead until Albert Pujols drilled a hanging curveball into the center-field seats and tied the game at 2 in the sixth inning.

The Braves proceeded to unravel in the eighth, when backup catcher Corky Miller made a costly error while trying to throw out a stealing Pujols at third base. Miller's throw drifted wide right and traveled into left field as the go-ahead run scored.

The Braves turned to Mike Gonzalez in the ninth, hoping the closer could keep them within one run entering the bottom half of the inning. But Gonzalez issued three walks and allowed five runs (one earned), and Blaine Boyer gave up a two-run single to Yadier Molina that pushed the Cardinals' lead to 8-2.

"We played a good ballgame; we just couldn't get anybody out in the eighth and ninth innings," Cox said. "They were doing the best they could to get them out. They just couldn't."

Braves pitchers have now surrendered 10-plus hits in four straight games.

Gregor Blanco recorded four hits for the second time in his past six games, and Francoeur added an RBI single in the second inning for the Braves, who had at least one baserunner in all but one inning.

Ryan Lavner is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.