ST. LOUIS -- If the Braves are able to snap their seven-game losing skid on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, the club's optional extra batting practice session during the afternoon may have played a part.

"The whole team hit, believe it or not," manager Bobby Cox said.

The afternoon workout was optional, but the Braves got high marks for attendance, with everyone showing up and taking part.

In the Braves' past three games, all one-run losses, Atlanta was a combined 5-for-22 (.227) with runners in scoring position and left 26 on base.

Entering Wednesday's night game, the Braves were last in the National League in batting average (.228) and next to last in home runs (12) and RBIs (71). The only team in the Major Leagues with a worse batting average is the Chicago White Sox (.220), who had an identical record as the Braves (8-12) through the first 20 games.

Cox knows it is only a matter of time before the bats break out.

"It's hard to say we're playing good baseball, but we are," he said.

Cox wants Heyward to take fewer pitches

ST. LOUIS -- Braves rookie right fielder Jason Heyward struck out looking in his biggest at-bat on Tuesday night, with the bases loaded against lefty specialist Trevor Miller in the seventh inning of Atlanta's 5-4 loss.

After the game, manager Bobby Cox said the 20-year-old outfielder is taking too many pitches for strikes when he's only seeing one pitch to swing at in his at-bats recently.

"He's taking way too many pitches," Cox said following Tuesday's game. "First pitch to him was a nothing little breaking ball. Strike three was a fastball. You have to be ready to hit every pitch."

Heyward, who was not in the starting lineup on Wednesday against Cardinals left-handed starter Jaime Garcia, has three hits in 29 at-bats (.103) with four RBIs and 12 strikeouts in his past 10 games. He was hitless in seven at-bats in the first two games against St. Louis and has one hit in 15 at-bats (.067) on the road trip.

Third baseman Chipper Jones had a unique view of Heyward's at-bat against Miller while leading off second base.

"Miller made some pretty tough pitches on him," Jones said. "It's his first time through the league. Crunch time, you throw a sidearm lefty out there with a good slider, and he located a fastball on the outside corner. It's not like it was right down the middle. It was located. [Brian McCann] or Nate [McLouth] or any other left-hander would have trouble with that guy. There's a [learning] curve there and we have to be patient and let the kid see everybody a time or two."

Heyward is batting .224 (15-for-67) for the season, with three doubles, four home runs, 16 RBIs and eight runs scored. He leads the Braves in homers and RBIs.

Cox thinks Wainwright's 'dynamite'

ST. LOUIS -- Braves manager Bobby Cox said before Wednesday's game that he never got a chance to see Adam Wainwright pitch before Atlanta traded the right-hander to St. Louis in 2003.

But the veteran skipper, who will manage against the Cards on Thursday afternoon in the final game of this week's four-game series at Busch Stadium, likes what he has seen from Wainwright.

"He's dynamite," Cox said on Wednesday.

Wainwright, who was traded to the Cardinals along with pitchers Jason Marquis and Ray King in exchange for outfielder J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero, is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his four career starts against Atlanta, with 23 strikeouts in 30 innings.

Wainwright, a first-round Draft pick in 2000, finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting last season, despite receiving the most first-place votes, and earned his first Rawlings Gold Glove.

The 6-foot-7, 230-pound right-hander has a career record of 49-25 with a 3.10 ERA in six seasons. He went 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA in 2009.

Stats and stuff

ST. LOUIS -- The Braves hit 12 home runs in their first 13 games this season but have not hit any since their comeback victory over the Phillies on April 20, a span that coincides with the team's seven-game losing streak.

The Braves have struggled mightily against left-handed hurlers. The club is hitting .216 against lefties, which ranks 26th in the Majors, and has just three home runs in 185 at-bats against southpaws this season. The only left-handed hitter in the starting lineup on Wednesday was center fielder Nate McLouth, who has one hit in seven at-bats (.143) against lefties this season and is hitting just .149 for the season.

Backup catcher David Ross made his fourth start of the season on Wednesday. In his first three starts, Ross recorded at least one hit and one RBI. The 33-year-old catcher is batting .273 (three hits in 11 at-bats) this season after hitting .273 with seven homers and 20 RBIs in 54 games a year ago.

Right-handers Kenshin Kawakami and Jair Jurjjens, the Braves' Wednesday and Thursday starters, haven't received much support this season. Jurjjens ranks second and Kawakami ranks fourth in the National League for lowest run support, with 1.57 and 2.12 runs per game, respectively.