Cardinals 5, Nationals 3
So far, Lance Berkman has been a huge pickup for the St. Louis
The new No. 5 hitter had three hits and two RBIs to build a
cushion for a bullpen that worked four innings of one-hit ball in a
5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals, giving the Cardinals a
doubleheader split on Wednesday night. The 35-year-old Berkman, on
a one-year free-agent deal after his worst season, is batting .339
with a team-leading 15 RBIs.
”It’s a good run for me personally and for the team. It seems
like every time I come up there’s somebody out there,” Berkman
said. ”I was hopeful something like this would happen, that I’d
get off to a good start and have something to build on.”
Laynce Nix homered and drove in two runs in Game 1 for the
Nationals, who chased Jake Westbrook with a six-run third inning in
an 8-6 victory.
Jaime Garcia (3-0) allowed one earned run in five-plus innings
and Colby Rasmus got his fourth RBI of the day as St. Louis snapped
Washington’s four-game winning streak in the nightcap. Reserve
third baseman Daniel Descalso had three nice defensive plays.
Jason Motte and rookie Eduardo Sanchez combined for nine
straight outs and stand-in closer Mitchell Boggs yielded a hit with
two outs in the ninth before getting Nix an on infield popup for
his first career save.
”We had a slugger at the plate with the tying run at the end of
the game,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. ”It just wasn’t
Jordan Zimmermann (1-3) kept alive the Nationals starters’
streak of working at least five innings in every game, but gave up
five runs in six innings in the loss. Zimmermann allowed two earned
runs or less in each of his first three outings.
Berkman, the reigning NL player of the week, doubled in a run in
the fourth and delivered a run-scoring single for the go-ahead hit
in the fifth.
Descalso charged to throw out Jerry Hairston Jr. on a grounder
in the third and later in the inning snared Danny Espinosa’s
bouncer down the line and threw him out. He foiled another slow
roller on Jayson Werth’s run-scoring groundout in the fourth.
The second half of a day-night doubleheader drew a paid
attendance of 33,714 and a turnstile count of 28,536, a massive
improvement over the opener. A sparse crowd of 8,686 showed up for
Game 1 at general admission prices and a sit-anywhere policy to
watch the makeup game of a rainout Tuesday night, the franchise’s
worst crowd since Sept. 14, 1989, when only 1,519 watched a makeup
of a tie game called by rain against the Pirates.
Sloppy play by St. Louis helped the Nationals tie it in Game
Left fielder Matt Holliday camped under and dropped Rick
Ankiel’s fly ball to the warning track for a three-base error in
the fourth, leading to an unearned run. Espinosa hit an RBI single
in the fifth, then went to third on Garcia’s wild pickoff throw
before scoring on Ankiel’s single.
The Cardinals regained the lead with a two-out rally in the
bottom of the fifth that began with Albert Pujols’ full-count walk
and was capped by run-scoring singles from Berkman and Yadier
”I don’t want to give him a cookie 3-2,” Zimmermann said of
the Pujols at-bat. ”You try to be extra fine with the pitch and
not make a huge mistake.
”The other guys made some clutch hits, it was more the other
guys than him.”
Pujols hit his fifth homer and Colby Rasmus also went deep in
the opener. Rasmus had three RBIs, but also grounded into two of
the Cardinals’ four double plays. Demoted closer Ryan Franklin
retired four straight batters before Nix homered with one out in
the eighth on a pitch that caused Franklin to recoil in
”They hit one ball hard and everything else I made pitches,”
Franklin said. ”You can’t keep being negative on yourself, you’ve
got to try to take something positive out of it.”
Drew Storen allowed a walk while getting the last four outs for
his second save in two chances. Espinosa had three hits, including
a pair of infield singles.
The Nationals did the little things like Ankiel going from first
to third – minus a shoe – and Ian Desmond swiping home on a double
steal. They scored the game’s first run after Werth’s aggressive
slide at second prevented a double play.
”We’ve got to do that. We’re not going to be a slugging team,”
Riggleman said. ”We had a little margin because of good
Westbrook (1-2) has a 9.82 ERA after four starts, allowing 30
hits in only 18 1-3 innings, and is 7-18 for his career in the
first month. He gave up seven runs and seven hits in three innings,
his shortest outing since May 2, 2007, when he left a start with
Cleveland after 1 1-3 innings with an abdominal injury that landed
him on the 15-day disabled list.
”It just wasn’t a good day to get behind the hitters, or
anytime for that matter, but today was especially bad,” Westbrook
said. ”It just kind of snowballed in that one inning.”
John Lannan (2-1) was in and out of trouble in five innings,
inducing two double-play balls and holding the Cardinals hitless in
seven at-bats with men on base. The only damage came on homers by
Pujols and Rasmus.
”I just felt a little off,” Lannan said. ”Against this kind
of lineup, you’re kind of lucky going out there and getting through
five with the stuff that I had.”
Tyler Clippard got Pujols to fly out with two men on to end the
sixth, and struck out pinch-hitters Jon Jay and Descalso to end the
seventh with two on base.
Lannan started and ended the third with groundouts, but in
between seven straight batters reached, highlighted by Desmond’s
NOTES: Lannan is 5-0 in his last six road starts. … Franklin
has allowed four homers in 6 2-3 innings after giving up seven all
last year in 65 innings. … Ankiel made his first appearance in
St. Louis as an opposing player and got a nice ovation before his