After a successful road trip against three opponents, all of whom from the National League West division, the St. Louis Cardinals returned to Busch Stadium on Monday to begin a home-stand, starting with a three game series against the Washington Nationals.
And for the Cardinals, while it wasn’t easy, they were able to make a comeback in the later half of the game to beat the Nationals 8-5.
The starting pitchers for the evening’s matchup were John Lackey (11-8, 2.92), and Gio Gonzalez (9-7, 4.41).
In the first inning, Washington got onto the board with two outs. After Bryce Harper reached on a fielding error by Kolten Wong, Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI double to make it 1-0 Nationals.
It remained 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Cardinals not only got on the board, but took the lead. Stephen Piscotty led off the inning with a fly out, which was followed by a Jhonny Peralta walk. Jason Heyward stepped up to the plate next, and singled putting two on with one out. What followed was three straight singles from Yadier Molina, Wong, and Mark Reynolds, with each of them scoring a run to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.
The Nationals picked up another run in the sixth inning when Ian Desmond grounded into a double play, which scored Zimmerman, who hit a single to lead off. And it wasn’t the last the Cardinals saw of Zimmerman as far as his good performance was concerned, as he gave the Nationals the lead once again in the seventh inning, when he hit a three-run home run to make it a 5-3 lead for the visitors.
But in the bottom half of the seventh, St. Louis put the game away once and for all. Reynolds led off with a single, which was followed by a single from Brandon Moss as well. Greg Garcia grounded into a double play, which sent Reynolds to third base. Matt Carpenter was issued a walk afterwards, bringing up Piscotty. And Piscotty cut the deficit to 5-4 with a single, scoring Reynolds. Peralta then singled to score Carpenter, suddenly making it 5-5.
After a pitching change, Heyward hit a double to score both Piscotty and Peralta to make it 7-5 Cardinals, and Wong singled to score Heyward, capping off the big inning for St. Louis, as they had themselves an 8-5 lead.
As for the pitching, while it wasn’t Lackey’s best performance on the mound, he still gave the Cardinals six quality innings, and also had eight strikeouts on the evening. When taken out in favor of Kevin Siegrist, his final line was: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 Ks.
In the end, Trevor Rosenthal, who returned to the team after a three-day paternity leave, notched his 42nd save of the season, and St. Louis won their 8th game against Washington at home since 2012. Siegrist got the win, and improved to 6-1 on the season, as the Cardinals’ record improved to 85-46, as they took a five game lead in the National League Central division, with the Pirates having an off day.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)