Photo is credited to Getty Images.
By sweeping a three-game series from the Cardinals in St. Louis, all the Nationals needed to do was win one of the teams’ four games to ensure a season-series win. By splitting the four-game set, the Nationals took the season series from the Cardinals, 5-2.
Game One: Nationals 2, Cardinals 1 — WP: Joe Ross (4-4) LP: Mike Leake (3-4) SV: Jonathan Papelbon (13)
Washington’s Joe Ross and St. Louis’s Mike Leake allowed a combined total of three runs in the first game of the series on Thursday night, all coming via the long ball. With homers from Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa, Ross and the Nationals edged the Cardinals by a 2-1 score.
Aledmys Diaz accounted for the first run of the game with a solo shot in the top of the fourth that happened to be one of six hits Ross allowed in his seven innings of work.
Leake held on to the one-run lead until the bottom of the sixth, when Harper broke out of his twelve-game homer slump with a 434-foot, upper-deck blast to right field. Then, in the seventh, Espinosa followed with a homer of his own to give the Nationals a lead they could win the game with.
Felipe Rivero and Jonathan Papelbon pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings for the Nats as they secured their 29 victory of the season.
–Prior to the game, the Cardinals announced that shortstop Jhonny Peralta would continue his minor-league rehab assignment with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals.
Game Two: Cardinals 6, Nationals 2 — WP: Jaime Garcia (4-4) LP: Max Scherzer (5-4)
A five-run third inning against Max Scherzer and an efficient start turned in by Jaime Garcia powered the Cardinals to a 6-2 victory over the Nationals on Friday night, leveling the series at one win each.
The Cardinals’ third-inning scoring was highlighted by a grand slam off the bat of four-hole hitter Stephen Piscotty. The long ball came shortly after Scherzer walked Matt Holliday with the bases full to force in the game’s first run.
Scherzer settled down and managed to work through seven innings, retiring the next fourteen batters he faced; however, considering the way his counterpart was working, the Nationals could not overcome their early deficit.
Garcia cruised along through the ballgame until Danny Espinosa clubbed a homer in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Ryan Zimmerman hit into a double play to plate a run, the final tally of the night for the Nats.
Greg Garcia put the game out of a save situation when he hit his second homer of the year in the eighth inning, allowing Kevin Siegrist and Matt Bowman to handle the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
Game Three: Cardinals 9, Nationals 4 — WP: Adam Wainwright (5-3) LP: Gio Gonzalez (3-3)
Four runs in the second inning and a grand night on both sides of the ball for Adam Wainwright ensured the Cardinals a 9-4 win over the Nationals in the third game of the series.
The second inning featured an RBI from Matt Carpenter and Greg Garcia and two RBIs from Wainwright on a sharp double to left field. With a four-run lead, Wainwright went to work.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the second, splitting the Cardinals’ lead in half. Down 6-2 in the sixth, Bryce Harper homered before Zimmerman went deep again in the seventh, putting the Nationals down two runs, 6-4.
Matt Adams recorded a two-RBI double off the bench in the eighth to provide some breathing room and the edge to win the ballgame. Seung Hwan Oh and Dean Kiekhefer worked the rest of the game following Wainwright’s departure after the seventh inning.
Game Four: Nationals 10, Cardinals 2 — WP: Stephen Strasburg (9-0) LP: Michael Wacha (2-6)
Michael Wacha held the Nationals hitless through three innings, but Washington put up three runs against the right-handed pitcher in the fourth. Pair that with yet another formidable start from Stephen Strasburg, and the Nationals split the four-game series.
Despite recording four hits off Strasburg through three innings, the Cardinals didn’t across until the fourth, when Brandon Moss took Strasburg deep for his ninth homer of the year.
The Nationals put up three runs in the fourth, two on a hit by catcher Wilson Ramos. With a one-run lead in the seventh, Anthony Rendon homered off of reliever Jonathan Broxton, who entered the game in relief of Wacha.
With Dean Kiekhefer on the mound, Jayson Werth hit his seventh home run of the season to center field, a grand slam. Against another left-handed pitcher out of St. Louis’s bullpen, Tyler Lyons, in the eighth, Ramos added on to his fine offensive day with a two-run blast, providing the Nationals with an eight-run, 10-2 lead that would prove to be the game’s final score.
STL: The Cardinals will head to Wisconsin to play the Milwaukee Brewers this week, beginning with an afternoon game on Monday.
WAS: The Nationals will pay a visit to the Philadelphia Phillies, who were swept by the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field over the weekend.