Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson, left, and Rafael Ortega, right, celebrate after scoring as St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Carlos Martinez (18) walks in the background during the ninth inning in Game 3 of a baseball National League Division Series.
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Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson, left, and Rafael Ortega, right, celebrate after scoring as St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Carlos Martinez (18) walks in the background during the ninth inning in Game 3 of a baseball National League Division Series.

Through injuries and slumps, demotions and disappointments, Dansby Swanson and Adam Duvall got ready for the big moment.

 

When it arrived, they were ready.

 

Swanson hit a tying double with two outs in the ninth inning and Duvall delivered a two-run single as the Atlanta Braves rallied past the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 on Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the NL Division Series.

 

 

 

“They never quit. They never give up,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “The heart and desire and will is unbelievable in those guys.”

 

Atlanta had managed just four hits off Adam Wainwright and Andrew Miller before breaking through against closer Carlos Martínez. With runners on the corners, Swanson tied it at 1 with a drive off the wall in left.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvElBXSalO4&feature=onebox

 

Swanson pumped his arms as he celebrated after his third hit of the game. He came through after an intentional walk to Brian McCann — Swanson’s .187 batting average with runners in scoring position was the lowest in the majors this year among qualified players.

 

“I love Dansby in those situations. I always have,” Snitker said. “That kid lives for that moment.”

 

Watching the inning develop, Swanson said he thought he might get a chance to bat in a big spot.

 

“In those situations, you just try and breathe and relax,” said Swanson, who missed the playoffs last year because of an injured left hand. “It’s easier said than done.”

 

Duvall, who entered in the eighth, then hit a liner into center field to put the Braves ahead to stay. It was his second big hit of the series after he connected for a pinch-hit homer in Atlanta’s 3-0 victory Friday.

 

“I’ll be ready whenever they need me,” said Duvall, who spent much of the year with Triple-A Gwinnett.

 

Game 4 is Monday at Busch Stadium. Atlanta needs one more win to advance to the NL Championship Series for the first time since 2001.

 

This is the first time the Braves have led a postseason series since they were up 2-1 on San Francisco in the 2002 NLDS. They lost the final two games that year.

 

“History, we don’t really play into that. This is now,” Swanson said.

 

UP NEXT

 

Dakota Hudson will start Game 4 for the Cardinals. The rookie right-hander is making his postseason debut after going 16-7 with a 3.35 ERA this season.

Snitker said he wasn’t ready to announce his starter for Game 4. One possible option is bringing back Dallas Keuchel on short rest after he pitched 4 2/3 innings in series opener Thursday.