Washington Nationals: Strasburg Sharp In Win Over Cardinals

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Apr 29, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 29, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Washington Nationals began their 10 game road trip against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight with a win. 

The Washington Nationals offense, which had been shutout in back to back games, wasted no time getting going against Cardinals starter Mike Leake. Michael Taylor started the game by crushing a homer into the bullpen in right field and gave the Nats their first run in 22 innings and a 1-0 lead.

The Cardinals offense struck back quickly in the first against starter Stephen Strasburg. After Strasburg got him into an 0-2 hole, Matt Carpenter singled to right to lead off the inning. With one out, Matt Holliday crushed an RBI double off the right center field wall, scoring Carpenter, and tying the game at 1-1. The next batter, Matt Adams hit a routine ground ball to short. However, the Nats were in the shift and the ball got through into left field and scored Holliday to give St. Louis the lead.

In the bottom of the third the Cardinals threatened against Strasburg again. Stephen Piscotty led off with a double down the left field line, but the Washington Nationals right-hander retired the next three batters and got out of the inning.

In the top of the fourth, the Nats’ aggressive base running paid off. Anthony Rendon led off the inning with a single, and with one out stole second for his first stolen base of the year. He was initially ruled out, but Dusty Baker challenged and the call was overturned.  After a Ryan Zimmerman walk, Daniel Murphy singled to right to score Rendon and tie the game at two.

On the base hit, Zimmerman advanced to third and this proved to be costly for St, Louis as Jayson Werth hit a sac fly to deep right, giving the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Danny Espinosa followed by launching his first homer of the season to right, increasing the Nationals lead to 5-2.

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Strasburg once again worked his way out of a jam in the bottom of the fourth. With runners on first and third with two down, Strasburg stuck out Carpenter, stranding the runners and keeping the score at 5-2. He got into a grove after the fourth inning and ended up with an outstanding start. He went seven innings, gave up two runs on eight hits, struck out nine, and walked one in the win.

Strasburg gave way to Blake Treinen in the eighth inning, who did not have the same success.After giving up a leadoff single to Holliday, Adams crushed a two run homer to left, cutting the Nationals lead to 5-4. Treinen was able to settle down after the home run and escape the inning with the lead still intact.

Next: Nats-Cardinals Series Preview

Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth and worked a scoreless inning to pick up his eighth save of the year. On this tough ten game road trip, the Nats start it off with a win to snap their three game losing streak.

Next Game: The Washington Nationals (15-7) will continue their series vs the St. Louis Cardinals (12-11) tomorrow at 2:15 p.m. E.T. at Busch Stadium. Joe Ross (2-0, 0.54 ERA) will return to the mound for the Nats and he will be opposed by Jamie Garcia (1-1, 3.24 ERA) for the Cards. You can catch the game on MASN.

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