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Nationals 3, Cardinals 1

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Gio Gonzalez pitched seven strong innings and his teammates scored two runs on one wild pitch in the seventh as the Washington Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 on Friday night.

St. Louis had won the eight previous games against the Nationals, including a 6-0 record last year and winning the first game of this series on Thursday. The last time Washington beat St. Louis was in Game 4 of the National League Division Series in 2012 at Nationals Park.

The Nationals took a 3-1 lead in the last of the seventh, scoring two runs on a wild pitch with two outs and the bases loaded with pinch-hitter Zach Walters at the plate.

St. Louis starter Michael Wacha (2-1) uncorked the wild pitch that allowed Ian Desmond, the Washington shortstop, to score from third. When Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina threw wildly to Wacha in an attempt to get Desmond, the ball rolled into the St. Louis dugout as Washington second baseman Danny Espinosa, who had been on second, came in to score to make it 3-1.

Gonzalez (3-1) went seven innings and allowed four hits and one run with seven strikeouts. Reliever Drew Storen retired the two batters he faced in the eighth (left fielder Matt Holliday and first baseman Allen Craig) with runners on second and third to get out of a jam.

Washington closer Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth for his fourth save. The first out came when Molina hit a grounder off the leg of Soriano, who was able to throw out Molina at first. Soriano then got a comebacker to start a double play to end the game.

Wacha allowed five hits and three runs (one earned) with seven strikeouts and no walks. But the Cardinals made three errors one night after Washington had three miscues.

The Cardinals tied the score at 1 in the fourth on an RBI single by second baseman Mark Ellis against Gonzalez, who struck out seven batters in the first five innings.

Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon hit his third homer of the year, a two-out solo shot to left, to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the third. The first-pitch homer came on a 77 mph curve from Wacha, who struck six in the first five innings to keep pace with Gonzalez.

The Cardinals had just one left-handed hitter in the starting lineup against Gonzalez. One of the lefties on the bench was first baseman Matt Adams, who began the day hitting .355.

"I want to get guys rest when I can. We are trying to be smart. Today is a good day to get some lefties out of the lineup," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.

NOTES: The Nationals recalled LHP Xavier Cedeno from Triple-A Syracuse and optioned RHP Blake Treinen to the Chiefs. Cedeno pitched in 11 games last year for the Nationals. He had a 0.00 ERA in his first three games out of the bullpen this year for Syracuse. Treinen, who made his big league debut on April 12, threw 60 pitches in relief while going 2 2/3 innings in Washington's 8-0 loss to the Cardinals on Thursday. ... The scheduled starters for Saturday's game are Washington RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 5.27 ERA) against St. Louis RHP Lance Lynn (3-0, 4.00). ... St. Louis RHP Eric Fornataro, called up from Triple-A Memphis on Thursday, said he expected to have high school friends at Friday night's game. He went to Mills Godwin High near Richmond, about 100 miles south of Nationals Park. ... Washington had 19 errors through Thursday, the most in the National League. "It's not a true testament of who we are," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
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