The Nationals began a long home stand with their first series against the St. Louis Cardinals this year. Edwin Jackson pitched an eight inning gem for the Nats, giving up no earned runs and striking out ten to garner his eighth win of the season.
The story of the game for the Nats was the great pitching performance by Jackson and thirteen hits by the offense to score eight runs. Jackson allowed four hits and walked two over his eight innings of work.
Jayson Werth drew a lead off walk in the first inning against Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia, and Bryce Harper made him pay immediately, blasting a home run to put the Nats up 2-0 in the bottom of the first. The Nationals scored another run in the third inning on an RBI fly ball by Adam LaRoche with the bases loaded. Jayson Werth went deep in the fifth inning, getting his first home run since he came off the DL from his wrist injury.
With the score 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth, the Nats struck again. Three successive singles by Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Jesus Flores loaded the bases for Edwin Jackson. Jackson hit into a fielders choice when the Cardinals threw home for the force out at the plate. With the bases still loaded with one out, the Cards called on Fernando Salas out of the bullpen and Garcia was done for the night. Salas faced Jayson Werth, who hit a RBI fielders choice, with the Cardinals throwing out Flores at second. Harper then stroked an RBI single to put the Nats up by six.
The Nats faced Lance Lynn in the seventh inning, and he had no better success against the Nats than his predecessors. Michael Morse singled and LaRoche walked. After Desmond struck out, Espinosa drew a walk and Flores got a two run single to push the score to 8-0 in favor of the Nats.
The only damage done by St. Louis occurred in the eighth inning. Brian Anderson, the backup catcher who came in for Yadier Molina, stroked a lead off double. Jackson induced a ground ball from Jon Jay to Ryan Zimmerman, who got to the ball but threw the ball over LaRoche’s head. Anderson scored and Jay ended up at second on the error. Jackson then struck out Carlos Beltran, got Matt Holiday to ground out and Allen Craig to flyout, ending the Cardinals threat.
Michael Gonzalez pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Nationals, putting the finishing touch on the Nationals second win in a row.
Champ of the Game: For the Nationals, this is a tie. Bryce Harper went 2-5 with a home run and an RBI single. Harper missed another home run in his second at bat by a couple of feet. He made a very nice running catch on a deep fly ball hit to center by Daniel Descalso for the final out of the inning. Jayson Werth also had a good night at the plate. He was 2-4 with a walk and a home run and scored two runs.
There aren’t too many candidates for the champ for St. Louis, but one player made the most of his opportunity. Backup catcher Brian Anderson doubled off Jackson on the first pitch he saw, and then alertly scored on the throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman to score the Cardinals only run. This was his first plate appearance this season, and he is now sporting a batting average of 1.000.
Chump of the Game: For the Nationals, there isn’t one. Everyone contributed at the plate and Jackson and Gonzalez pitched great. Ryan Zimmerman’s error lead to an unearned run, but for as many wonderful run saving, game saving plays Zim makes at third on a routine basis, you can’t call him a chump for the occasional throwing miscue.
Jon Jay went 0-4 with two strikeouts. The Cardinals got nothing out of their lead off hitter all night. That makes him the chump of the game for St. Louis.
Unsung Hero: Michael Morse went 3-4, drew a walk and scored a run for the Nats. For the Cardinals, it was Yadier Molina who didn’t have a hit in three at bats, but drew a walk and after getting hit in the knee by Fernando Salas in the fifth inning, gamely came out and caught the sixth inning before giving way to Anderson.