Four-run fifth inning lifts Cardinals past Braves

ATLANTA - Adam Wainwright overcame five walks and drove in a run during a four-run fifth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the weak-hitting Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Wednesday night.

The Cardinals won two of three in the series against the Braves, who have scored three runs or fewer in 11 of 15 games after scoring at least four runs in each of their first six games.

Wainwright (3-0), the Brunswick native who began his career with the Braves, allowed seven hits and three runs - two earned - with five walks and two strikeouts in six innings. He gave up three runs in the first three innings, but the Braves couldn't hold a 3-1 lead.

The Cardinals are off to their best start since 2006, when they also were 15-7.

St. Louis, which blew a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning in Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to the Braves, protected the late lead in the final game of the series. With two outs and runners on first and second in the eighth, second baseman Skip Schumaker jumped to catch a soft liner by Omar Infante off closer Ryan Franklin.