The matchup for the first game of the Nationals-Cardinals looked tough on paper for the Nationals. Adam Wainwright starting for the Cards meant the Nats really had to play well and the Nats pitchers had to be on their game.
Everything that could go wrong for the Nats did go wrong. Sloppy play and mediocre pitching by the Nats coupled with Wainwright pitching very well spelled doom. The Nationals lost to the Cardinals 8-0 on Thursday night at Nationals Park. As you watched the game, you felt as if the Cardinals were at the plate forever each inning and the Nats were out of their half of the inning in the blink of an eye. The Cardinals scored eight runs and stranded fifteen base runners. I suppose things could have been worse if the Cardinals had been able to plate some more of their players who got on base. The Nationals committed four errors during the game.
Taylor Jordan and Nats fielding put them behind right from the top of the first inning. Ian Desmond committed an error on the first contact of the game by Matt Carpenter. Kolten Wong then hit a comebacker to Jordan who could not get the ball out of his glove, and made a lazy throw to first that had no hope of getting Wong. Matt Holliday smacked an RBI double. Matt Adams notched another RBI on a groundout, the first out of the inning. Yadier Molina then contributed an RBI single. Allen Craig and Jhonnie Perralta both struck out to end the inning, but the score was 3-0 in favor of the Cards.
Wainwright did it all for the Cardinals. He threw a complete game shutout only allowing two hits. He also went two for three at the plate with a walk. The Nationals had no hope of coming back from the deficit run up in the first inning with Wainwright pitching the way he was in this game.
The Nats had their best opportunity to score in the bottom of the second. Adam LaRoche started the inning off with a walk, followed by an Ian Desmond infield single. The Nationals had two on and nobody out. Wainwright induced a flyout from Danny Espinosa and a groundout from Nate McLouth. Jose Lobaton was intentionally walked to load the bases and get Jordan to the plate, who struck out to end the Nationals threat.
In the top of the fourth with one out, Perralta doubled. Jay got to first on Desmond’s second error of the game, with Perralta going to third. Wainwright then hit a chopper with the ball thrown to Espinosa to get the out and second and possibly complete a double play. However, Espinosa dropped the ball on the transfer from glove to throwing hand, and even though he had already stepped on the bag, so the out did not count. In Espinosa’s defense, Jay was coming in on a take out slide and Danny had to jump to the side to avoid getting knocked over and got knocked down anyway. Perralta scored from third and the score was 4-0.
Jordan was knocked out in the sixth inning. With one out, he hit Jay, gave up a hit to Wainwright and walked Carpenter to load the bases. Matt Williams went to Blake Treinen to try to get the Nats out of the inning. It didn’t work. Treinen struck out Wong for the second out, but Holliday singled to score a run and Adams singled to score two more. Treinen was ahead of both batters but could not put them away.
The Cardinals scored another run off Treinen in the seventh. Treinen loaded the bases and Wong hit an RBI single to make the score 8-0. Jerry Blevins pitched a long ninth inning, giving up a double to Wainwright, walking Shane Robinson and Tony Cruz to load the bases with two out. Blevins got Molina to pop out to end the inning without any more runs scoring.