Game Log: Cards ride strong start and big bats, outlast Nats 5-2 -

Game Log: Cards ride strong start and big bats, outlast Nats 5-2

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By John Bailey By John Bailey
By John Bailey By John Bailey

(BaseballStL) — With Carlos Martinez scheduled for Monday and a four run lead, the tandem of Jason Motte and Sam Freeman were tasked with taking the game the final two innings.

While Motte picked up flawless inning with two strikeouts and a ground out, Freeman gave up back-to-back two-out single. The two runners would necessitate a Trevor Rosenthal appearance with two outs and two on. 

A single loaded the bases, before a 3-2 walk pulled Washington within three. Rosenthal painted the edges three times, but could not get the third strike against Adam LaRoche. 

He began 2-0 to Jayson Werth before knotting the count at 2-2. Werth, as the winning run, fouled off two 98-mile-per-hour pitches before popping up to Matt Adams to end the drama. 

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Washington got two quick outs to begin the seventh inning but failed to finish the job, walking Holliday to extend the inning. 

Allen Craig made them pay for the mistake, pelting a double into left that scored the Cardinal left fielder. 

Matt Adams ended the inning with a strikeout, but not before the Cardinals gained a four-run cushion for reliever Jason Motte. 

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Kolten Wong provided a swift rebuttal in the bottom half of the fifth, when he led things off with a triple down the right field line. 

Holliday inched closer to 1000 RBIs when he hit a sacrifice fly to left to score the speedy second baseman and give the Cardinals a three-run cushion once again. 

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The Nationals broke the shutout in the fifth inning with a bases loaded walk after a bizarre play at first that should have ended the inning.

Nate McLouth hit a dribbler down the right field line to Matt Adams who had to race to the bag in an attempt to get the out as Jaime Garcia did not get there in time to cover the bag. 

Garcia threw a ball in the dirt as the first pitch to Jayson Werth, but he threw just one strike and three more balls to walk in the Nationals' first run of the game before getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground out to third.

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The Cardinals defense responded with two dazzling plays after Matt Holliday's homer to keep the Cards ahead 3-0. 

Allen Craig made a diving catch to rob Ryan Zimmerman of an extra base hit to begin the inning. Then not to be outdone, Kolten Wong playing behind second base extended his body to snag a line drive hit away from Scott Hairston.

Jaime Garcia then struck out Ian Desmond to complete his second nine pitch inning. 

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After fireworks in the second, another Matt brandished his bat in the third. With one out, Matt Holliday hit a towering shot into center field for his fifth homer of the season. 

The shot put the Cardinals up 3-0 and moved Holliday two RBIs shy of 1,000 for his career. 

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Matt Adams, continuing his reign of terror over Washington pitchers, homered for the third straight day. For the third straight time, it game the Cardinals the lead.

After Allen Craig led off the bottom of the second with a single, Adams worked a 2-0 count before turning on a ball and sending a laser into the right field stands.

Following a Jhonny Peralta ground out, Jon Jay and Tony Cruz slapped consecutive singles. Jaime Garcia laid down a two-strike sac bunt to move them along, but Carpenter's ground out halted the scoring at two runs. 

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Jaime Garcia found himself in a spot of trouble early in Sunday’s finale, but skillfully navigated to safer waters.

In the top of the second, he recorded a quick ground out from Ryan Zimmerman, but surrendered back-to-back singles to Scott Hairston and Ian Desmond. The first was contained to a single base by a tremendous play off the wall by Matt Holliday, which kept the second from being a run. 

Garcia then plunked Danny Espinosa to load the bases. 

Despite falling behind 2-0 to Sandy Leon, he coaxed a grounder to Matt Carpenter who fielded it and fired to the plate to keep a run off the board. 

For an encore, he struck out opposing pitcher Doug Fister to strand three Nationals and escape the jam.

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