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5.28.16 Cardinals @ Nationals Recap: Wainwright Good, Offense Better; Cards win 9-4

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Good pitching and timely hitting will usually win games. It helps when some of that timely hitting comes from your starting pitcher.

Adam Wainwright gives Mike Leake a run for his money in 9-4 victory.
Adam Wainwright gives Mike Leake a run for his money in 9-4 victory.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

**Recapped while drinking fresh-squeezed mojitos using mint from a plant in my yard that will never die.**

O say can you see the great Steve Piscotty

What so proudly we hail the return of Matt Adams

Whose big hits to score runs helped us to victory

O'er the bleachers we watched Holliday get at 'em

And then Wainwright's' red glare, the hits bursting in air

Gave proof through the night that our chance is still there

O say can that championship speech be heard

In the land of St. Louis and the home of the Birds?

Am I a bad person for (poorly) rewriting the national anthem on Memorial Day weekend?  Probably. But it seemed like the thing to do.  Anyway, you guys remember the time that Stephen Piscotty hit his first career grand slam off Max Scherzer?  I do, and it's basically all I've thought about since it happened.  So after dropping a heartbreaker in the first game of this series, the Cardinals have battled back to win twice against the NL East's (tied for) first place team.

With Adam Wainwright on the mound, the Cardinals got the scoring started early.  In the top of the second inning, Piscotty walked and then FINALLY stole a base after being thrown out approximately 95462 times in a row.  Jedd Gyorko, getting the start against the lefty Gio Gonzalez, walked after Piscotty.  Greg Garcia, chosen to stay with the big club over Ruben Tejada (DFA'd earlier), followed with a bloop single to left field to score the Stanford grad.  Then Wainwright surprised everyone with a double to score two.  3-0 Cardinals.  Matt Carpenter was all like, "uh, doubles are MY thing, Adam."  Not to be outdone, Carpenter followed with ANOTHER double, to give the Cards a 4-0 lead.

The Nationals got two runs back in the bottom of the inning after Wainwright gave up a single to Daniel Murphy and a home run to Ryan Zimmerman.  But then Matt Holliday was all like, "uh, home runs are MY thing, Ryan," and he promptly hit a solo shot to give the Redbirds a 5-2 lead in the third inning.  We scored again in the fifth after a Holliday walk, a Piscotty single, and a Randal Grichuk double.

At some point, Bryce Harper hit a solo home run.  Grass is green, and all that.  It's not a series against the Nationals if Bryce Harper doesn't beat you a time or two. Luckily, his home run had no bearing on the outcome of this game.  Zimmerman hit another solo shot in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-4 Cardinals.  And then things got a little too close for comfort.  But Waino finished out the inning with no more runs allowed, so all was good.

The Cardinals got some insurance runs in the eighth inning.  Yadier Molina and Garcia each singled, and Matt Adams drove them both in with a pinch-hit double to right field.  Oh, and we scored one more time in the ninth.  Grichuk hit a triple that nearly cleared the wall and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Molina.  Final score : 9-4 Cardinals. Yea!

Notes

1. This is the seventh straight Wainwright start that the Cardinals have won.  This stat doesn't say a whole lot about how, exactly, Wainwright has pitched, but suffice it to say that he's been much better of late.  He did give up three home runs today, but I actually think this was his best pitched game this season, at least in terms of his "stuff" and his level of comfort.  He got ahead in the count, he hit his locations, he barely had to pitch out of the stretch, and there was never a time where he really seemed to be laboring.  He threw 98 pitches for a final line of 7 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 4 Ks, and 0 BB (very important).

2. As mentioned above, the Cardinals designated Ruben Tejada for assignment today.  This was a good move - perhaps one that many of us were hoping would have happened sooner.  Greg Garcia projects to be a better player than Tejada.  And, almost as if to prove to us that any other decision would have been the wrong one, Garcia went 3-for-4 tonight with an RBI and two runs scored.

3. Um, speaking of shortstops, Jhonny Peralta's rehab is temporarily suspended because he cut his hand while opening a box. He should be okay in 3-4 days.  Ugh.

4. I don't know, wins like this make me think we are a better team than we are.  I get all excited and then we lose three in a row to the damn Braves or something.  Still, I don't give up easily, and I certainly don't give up on the Cardinals before the freaking All Star Break.  The Pirates lost today.  Perhaps too early to scoreboard watch, but we are only three games back of a wild card spot.  I'm not ready to be a seller yet.

5. All that said, Michael Wacha faces Stephen Strasburg tomorrow at 12:35 CT.  It's probably going to be ugly.

Happy Memorial Day everyone! Be safe out there.