Cards defense, bullpen falter in 3-2 loss to Nats
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Cardinals managed to score twice against Stephen Strasburg while starter Shelby Miller kept the Nationals offense quiet. Nine outs away from taking yet another series from Washington, St. Louis’ defense and bullpen couldn’t finish the job.
Denard Span hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and Washington, with Bryce Harper back in the lineup and stealing his first base of the season, rallied past the Cardinals 3-2 on Sunday.
The Cardinals gave up two runs in the seventh and the game-winning score in the ninth. They weren’t charged with any errors in those innings but failed to record two potential outs.
Washington took advantage of each opportunity.
The Nationals loaded the bases in the ninth against Seth Maness (0-1). Danny Espinosa singled through third baseman Matt Carpenter’s legs with one out for his third hit, Jose Lobaton singled through the right side of the infield and pinch hitter Nate McLouth walked.
“That’s a play I’m expecting to make and a play that I expect myself to make, and I didn’t make it,” Carpenter said. “It ended up costing us.”
In his second game since he was activated from the seven-day disabled list after a concussion, Span lofted a fly ball to left field. Espinosa easily beat the throw from Jon Jay, who shifted over from right as St. Louis used a five-man infield.
The Nationals tied the game with four straight singles off reliever Carlos Martinez in the seventh. Ian Desmond’s RBI grounder through the right side confused second baseman Daniel Descalso.
Instead of a potential double play, the Nats scored, and the inning went on. Espinosa had three hits, including the game-tying RBI single off Martinez.
The Nationals, who had costly errors earlier in the series, split the four games.
“When we didn’t play good defense, we ended up getting beat,” Descalso said. “When they didn’t play good defense, they ended up getting beat. So that was kind of the way the series went.”
Washington had lost eight of the previous nine meetings with the Cardinals.
Miller left with the lead after pitching 5 1-3 innings. He also hit a two-out RBI double off Strasburg in the fourth.
St. Louis starting pitchers had an RBI in three of the four games against Washington. Miller allowed four hits, striking out seven and walking five.
Matt Adams doubled twice and scored for the Cardinals.
Harper started in left field and went 1 for 4. The two-time All-Star was pulled from the game a day earlier for what manager Matt Williams called a “lack of hustle” after he failed to run out a comebacker to the mound.
The two spoke before Sunday’s game.
NOTES: Cardinals OF Matt Holiday didn’t play. It was a day of rest, manager Mike Matheny said. ... St. Louis will recall LHP Tyler Lyons from Triple-A Memphis to start at the New York Mets and send RHP Jorge Rondon to Memphis before Monday night’s series opener. Last season, Lyons finished 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 appearances, including eight starts for the Cardinals. He replaces RHP Joe Kelly (strained left hamstring), who was put on the disabled list Thursday.