In Game 1 of the National League Division Series, the Washington Nationals avoided a big second inning for the St. Louis Cardinals despite four walks and a wild pitch by starter Gio Gonzalez, who limited the damage to two runs.
In Game 2, the Cardinals got that big inning in the second, smacking five base hits off starter Jordan Zimmermann and scoring four runs.
The four-run second seemed to relax the Cardinals a bit, and they went on to hit four home runs off the Nationals in a 12-4 victory Monday.
The Cardinals saw Zimmermann's pitches well all day. He ended up allowing five runs on seven hits in just three innings.
"That is some of the youth in the pitching staff," said manager Davey Johnson. "He didn't really make a lot of adjustments out there. He kind of stayed one way -- hard away. (Against) a good fastball-hitting club you got to use both sides of the plate, and he didn't really use his slider early on. That is just a little inexperience."
The Nationals will look back at the second inning as well, but also because the offense was unable to take full advantage of having two men on and only one out. Washington scored only one run in that inning.
Johnson said, "You have to pitch; you can't go out there and throw. This is a good fastball-hitting club and you have to mix in your pitches."
The series is even at 1-1 going into Game 3 Wednesday at Nationals Park, where the Nationals will send former Cardinal Edwin Jackson to the mound. Johnson has confidence that Jackson will be able to pitch well.
"Jackson has a lot of experience," Johnson said. "He pitched a heck of a ballgame against them (Aug. 30). He is certainly up for it."
Jackson went eight innings in that game in an 8-1 win at Nationals Park.