Despite two home runs and a 4-for-4 game from Ryan Zimmerman, the Washington Nationals lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, 9-4.
After Max Scherzer gave up five runs in the third inning last night, it was Gio Gonzalez who had the bad inning tonight for the Washington Nationals. The St. Louis Cardinals scored four runs in the second inning against the Nats’ left-hander as they defeated Washington by a final score of 9-4. Even in a loss, the Nats hit three home runs, including two by Ryan Zimmerman, who went 4-for-4.
After Gonzalez struck out the side in the first, he needed 40 pitches to finish the second inning. With two on via a pair of walks and two outs, Greg Garcia blooped a single to left to drive in Stephen Piscotty for the Cardinals’ first run. Then, Adam Wainwright helped is own cause when he doubled into the gap in left center to drive in two. The lead increased to 4-0 when Matt Carpenter drove in Wainwright with a double to right.
The Washington Nationals got two runs back in the bottom of the second against Wainwright. Daniel Murphy led off the inning with a base hit to right. That was Murphy’s 41st hit of the month, which is now the most for any Nats’ player in a single month:
After Murphy’s single, Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run home run to right center, his seventh of the season, to cut the lead to 4-2.
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But, the Cardinals scoring would not stop there. In the top of the third, Matt Holliday led off the inning with a solo home run to left center. Holliday’s eighth home run of the season gave St. Louis a 5-2 lead.
Two innings later, the Cardinals had another two-out RBI when Randal Grichuk doubled to left to drive in Holliday. That double would end Gonzalez’s night. The left-hander went 4.2 innings, gave up six runs on six hits, struck out six, and walked four on 98 pitches (59 strikes) in the loss.
In the bottom of the sixth, Bryce Harper crushed a solo home run to center for his 13th home run of the season. One inning later, with the Nats down 6-3, Zimmerman led off the inning with a solo home run to center. His second of the game and eighth home run of the season decreased the deficit to 6-4.
Washington would have a chance to drive in more runs in that seventh inning, but Wilson Ramos (pinch-hitting for Jose Lobaton) grounded into an inning-ending double play. As for Wainwright, he went seven innings, gave up four runs on six hits, struck out five, and didn’t walk anyone on 98 pitches (66 strikes) in the win.
While the Nats’ bullpen has been a strength for the team all season, they had a streak snapped tonight in the top of the eighth. With two men on and one out, pinch-hitter Matt Adams hit a two-run double down the right field line against Sammy Solis. Both runs were charged to Yusmeiro Petit, which ended an impressive streak of stranding inherited runners.
In the ninth, Shawn Kelley gave up a run when Yadier Molina drove in Grichuk with a sacrifice fly to right. The Nats’ bullpen gave up three runs on six hits and struck out six over the final 4.1 innings of the game.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals (29-21) will look to get a split of the series against the St. Louis Cardinals (26-24) tomorrow afternoon. You can watch the game on MASN and WUSA9 at 1:35 p.m ET. Stephen Strasburg (8-0, 2.79 ERA) will pitch for the Nats against Michael Wacha (2-5, 5.04) for the Cardinals.