The Washington Nationals secured a much needed 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night thanks to a strong pitching performance from left-handed starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez and a few timely hits. The night’s victory helped snap the 8-0 losing skid between Washington and St. Louis, which dates back to 2012.
Gonzalez threw 101 pitches and 65 strikes against St. Louis over seven innings. The Cardinals managed four hits, one run, and a walk against the lefty but Gonzalez fought back with seven strike outs on the night. That strong outing was exactly what the Nats needed in order to fend off a hot-hitting and defensively sound Cardinals squad.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon went long in the third inning, hitting his third homerun of the season off right-handed starting pitcher Michael Wacha to give the Nats an early 1-0 lead. Wacha went on to silence the Washington offense up until the seventh inning, though, up until first baseman Adam LaRoche led-off the seventh inning.
LaRoche helped start the late game-winning, two-run rally with a single to left field off Wacha. Shortstop Ian Desmond followed with a single to right field before second baseman Danny Espinosa reached on a bunt. The Cardinals missed a catch in that play resulting in an error and subsequent movement on the bases for Washington.
The Nats would score off a wild pitch thrown by Wacha during rookie outfielder Zach Walters’ at-bat. Desmond and Esipnosa’s runs made it a 3-1 ballgame against the Cardinals in the eighth, leaving the rest of the night to the bullpen.
Things were shaky out of the gate for right-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning. Clippard threw 25 pitches and only recorded one out before right-handed pitcher Drew Storen entered the game to retire the side with just five pitches.
Closer Rafael Soriano finished things off in the ninth inning despite issuing a one-out walk to Cardinals second baseman Mark Ellis. Outfielder Shane Robinson hit into a 1-6-3 double-play to end the game and give Washington their first win over St. Louis since 2012 and Soriano his fourth save on the year.