Mar 21, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) warms up prior to a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Offense Struggles in Nats' 2-0 Loss to Cardinals

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Despite strong pitching throughout the day, the Washington Nationals struggled with the bat Friday afternoon as they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-0.

Gio Gonzalez got the start for the Nationals and once again looked to be in mid-season form in what is likely his second to last start of the spring. The left-hander threw four and two-thirds innings while giving up two runs (one earned) and allowing just four hits. Gonzalez was solid for the most part but was also a bit shaky with his command, walking three batters.

The Cardinals scored their first run against Gonzalez in the bottom of the first inning after a two-base error by Nationals’ center fielder Jeff Kobernus allowed Shane Robinson to get into scoring position. Robinson would then score on an RBI groundout by Yadier Molina, giving St. Louis a 1-0 lead. The Cardinals would make it a two-run game on a sacrifice fly by Allan Craig in the bottom of the third.

The Nationals kept the Cardinals off the board for the rest of the game but were unable to break through against Cardinals’ starter Adam Wainwright, who dominated the Nationals’ offense throughout the day. The right-hander threw eight scoreless innings while allowing just three hits and striking out seven batters.

While it was a dismal game for Nationals’ hitters, Friday was one of the strongest performances by the bullpen so far this spring. Nationals’ relievers Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard, Blake Treinen and Xavier Cedeno all turned in scoreless relief after Gonzalez left the game in the bottom of the fifth.

The Nationals will continue their final stretch of exhibition games tomorrow afternoon, when they will take on the Miami Marlins at Space Coast Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EST.

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Tags: Washington Nationals

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