It took a throwing error by Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to break the St. Louis Cardinals' scoreless streak at 28 innings Thursday night. But it was a blip on the radar.
The Cardinals were thrashed for the third straight night, 8-1, by Washington. That came on the heels of 9-0 and 5-0 losses to Pittsburgh.
When they lost to Pittsburgh right-hander James McDonald and left-hander Wandy Rodriguez in the previous two games, the Cardinals felt as if they had some hittable pitches. Not so much on Thursday when former Cardinals right-hander Edwin Jackson struck out 10 and allowed just an unearned run.
"I have no explanation at this point," said manager Mike Matheny. "Jackson threw the ball well, (but) we chased a lot of balls out of the zone.
"We've got to find that button. We need to find it tomorrow."
In the big picture, the Cardinals still are in the lead by a half-game for the second wild-card spot in the National League.
More immediately, though catcher Yadier Molina returned after missing one game because of several upper-body strains suffered in a collision at home plate on Tuesday, shortstop Rafael Furcal is expected to be lost for a while and maybe a long while.
Furcal came out of the game with a strained elbow after making a throw to second in the sixth inning. He will return to St. Louis to have an MRI on Friday.
The veteran said he felt a "pop" on one throw and later a "tingle."
After the game, he said he was very sore and couldn't extend his arm.
"I hope it's not crazy," he said. "I've never felt anything like this in my arm. It's like 'Where's this coming from?' "
Matheny had Furcal take a warmup throw. "He winced, and that was all we needed to see," said Matheny.
"He's been a phenomenal part of this team. He's had a great season. Even losing him for today wasn't good. We're hopeful that all the tests come back in a positive way and that we get him back soon."
Also, left-hander Jaime Garcia and right-hander Lance Lynn were unimpressive. Garcia, who hasn't looked as good after throwing 107 pitches and giving up two unearned runs over eight innings in his first start after coming off the disabled list, gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings. Garcia fell behind on a two-run homer to center fielder Bryce Harper, the second batter he faced in the game, after he had walked the leadoff man.
"I didn't get the job done in the first inning, falling behind," said Garcia. "My arm felt fine, better than last time. But every single mistake I made, it seemed like they took advantage of it."
Lynn, shuffled to the bullpen after five poor starts, pitched a listless seventh inning, walking two and giving up two singles while allowing two runs.