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

Gio Solid in Nationals' 3-2 Loss to Cardinals

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The Washington Nationals lost a close game to the St. Louis Cardinals in Gio Gonzalez’s final Grape Fruit League start Wednesday afternoon. Gonzalez wrapped up a fantastic spring and appears to be ready to go for the regular season, which starts in just five days.

The left-hander threw five strong innings in which he allowed seven hits and three runs (one earned), while striking out four batters and walking one. Gonzalez finishes his third spring training as a member of the Nationals 1-3 with a 2.45 ERA.

The Nationals fell behind early after Yadier Molina hit a two-run single in the bottom of the first that gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead. The Cardinals would add another run two innings later when another RBI single by Molina made it a three-run game.

The Nationals bullpen stopped the bleeding, however, and did not allow any more Cardinals runs to score the rest of the way. Nationals’ relievers Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen and Aaron Barrett combined to throw three-scoreless innings.

Unfortunately for the Nationals, the offense did not take advantage of the strong effort by the bullpen and were not able to complete a late-inning comeback. Both of Washington’s runs came on an RBI single by Caleb Ramsey, making it  3-2 game. The Nationals’ rally ended there, however, and the Cardinals won the game, 3-2.

The Nationals will play the New York Mets tomorrow afternoon in their second to last exhibition game of the spring, before welcoming the Detroit Tigers at Nationals Park for the spring finale March 29.

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