The Cardinals continued their homestand on Tuesday, facing off against the Nationals in the second game of the series. Jack Flaherty started for St. Louis against Stephen Strasburg for the Nats. Flaherty pitched a solid but inefficient game, requiring 96 pitches to get through 5 innings. Strasburg looked uncomfortable for most of his start and was shown massaging his shoulder in between innings. He definitely didn’t look one hundred percent, and the Cardinals capitalized on the opportunity. The Cardinals eventually put up a total of fourteen runs in the game, seven of which were charged as earned runs to Strasburg.
Victor Robles led off the game for the Nats, working a full count before striking out swinging at a slider low and away from Flaherty. Trea Turner followed, also striking out looking at a fastball on the inner half of the plate. Juan Soto got ahead with a 3-1 count before grounding out into the Cardinals’ shift, nearly beating out the throw from Matt Carpenter.
Tommy Edman led off once again for St. Louis, falling into a 1-2 hole and flying out to Kyle Schwarber in left field. Paul Goldschmidt jumped on the first pitch he saw, hitting his 250th career home run and giving the Cards a 1-0 lead.
For the 250th time in his career...— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 14, 2021
GOLDY GONE! pic.twitter.com/ZIAQwsczLk
Nolan Arenado got just under a fastball and flew out to deep left field. Paul DeJong, returning to the cleanup spot in the order, was frozen by a 3-2 fastball down in the zone and struck out looking to retire the side.
Josh Bell started things off in the Nationals’ half of the inning, grounding a slider to Arenado, who bobbled the ball and was unable to make the throw, receiving an error on the play. Schwarber followed, flying out to Justin Williams in left. Starlin Castro flew the ninth pitch of his at bat to center field, where Dylan Carlson caught it for out number two. Josh Harrison grounded a fastball back up the middle for a hit, giving the Nats runners on first on second with two down. Alex Avila struck out swinging over a breaking ball, stranding two runners on base. Flaherty was laboring, however, throwing 47 pitches to navigate two innings.
Carpenter began the bottom of the inning for the Cards and was fooled by a Strasburg curveball that dropped into the zone for strike three. Carlson lobbed a 2-0 fastball to shallow center for a base hit. Andrew Knizner, making his first start of the season at catcher, hit a soft ground ball to third for the second out and advanced Carlson to second. After an intentional walk to Williams, Flaherty hit a soft liner into the gap between first and second, where Harrison made a diving catch to rob a hit and potentially a run while ending the inning.
Strasburg led off the third for Washington and lined a 3-2 pitch to Edman in right for the first out. Flaherty then hit Robles with a 1-2 pitch and Turner followed, grounding a ball to Arenado, who threw to second for the force out and out number two. Soto, gifted ball two that should have been strike two, hit a hard line drive over Edman’s head and off the right field wall to score Turner, tying the game at 1-1. Josh Bell struck out swinging, ending the inning for the Nats’ offense.
Edman led off with a first-pitch single to center. Goldschmidt followed with a popout to Castro in foul territory for the first out. Arenado then lined a 3-1 pitch into the seats in left field for his third home run on the season and a 3-1 Cardinals lead.
DeJong worked a full count before drawing a one-out walk to bring up Carpenter. Carp launched a ball down the first baseline, hitting it high off the foul pole for the Cardinals’ second two-run homer of the inning, putting the Cards up 5-1.
We all get by with a little help from our friends ❤️ pic.twitter.com/4XkNy1qN4k— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 14, 2021
Carlson struck out, tipping a fastball into the glove of Avila for the second out. Knizner managed to draw a walk after falling into an 0-2 hole. Williams ended the inning by flying out to deep left, where Schwarber nearly missed the catch after slipping at the warning track.
Schwarber led off the fourth for the Nationals and flew out to center field. Castro followed, striking out on three pitches. Harrison landed a base hit in left field and tried to stretch it into a double. He was punched out at second on a perfect throw from Williams and the call stood after a brief review, ending the inning for the Nats.
Flaherty started things off for the Cards in the bottom of the fourth with a base hit to right field off the end of his bat. Edman hit a hard grounder past a diving Harrison for a hit, giving the Cards runners on first and second with no outs for Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt flew out loudly to the wall in left field, advancing both runners. The Nationals gave Arenado first base on an intentional walk, electing to face DeJong with the bases loaded. The decision paid off as DeJong grounded into a double play, ending the Cardinals’ threat.
Avila grounded out to DeJong to kick off the fifth inning. Strasburg, remaining in the game despite looking to be in pain, grounded out to Carpenter for the second out. Robles struck out looking on a 3-2 and both he and Flaherty seemed to have no idea if the outer corner was actually in the strike zone.
Carpenter lined a ball straight at Castro who was playing the shift, and the ball squirted out of his glove, allowing Carpenter to reach on an error. Carlson followed, walking on five pitches. Knizner knocked a base hit into left field, loading the bases and ending Strasburg’s night. Luis Avilan was called on to pitch out of the jam and Williams welcomed him with an RBI base hit, extending the lead to 6-1 for the Cardinals. Austin Dean pinch hit for Flaherty and hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Carlson to bring the score to 7-1. Edman walked on four straight pitches, bringing up Goldschmidt with the bases loaded and one away. Goldschmidt hit the first pitch to left field for a base hit, knocking in both Knizner and Williams and extending the lead yet again to 9-1 for St. Louis. Arenado ripped another base hit to left, scoring Edman for a 10-1 lead for the Cards. DeJong pushed a line drive to right for an RBI base hit to make it 11-1 and a miscue by Soto allowed Arenado to advance to third. Carpenter returned for his second plate appearance of the inning and hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Arenado for a 12-1 lead. Carlson beat out a throw from third for an infield hit. Knizner walked to load the bases yet again for the Cardinals and Williams lined a ball to center for two more RBIs, bringing the score to 14-1. Austin Dean struck out swinging, finally bringing the inning to a close, but not before the Cards put up nine runs in the frame.
Genesis Cabrera pitched the sixth for St. Louis, facing Turner who struck out swinging to start the inning. Soto followed suit and Bell flew out to center field to retire the Nats in order.
Wander Suero came in to pitch for the Nationals, while Andrew Stevenson replaced Soto in right and Jordy Mercer replaced Turner at shortstop. Edman grounded out on the first pitch. John Nogowski pinch hit for Goldschmidt and grounded out to third for out number two. Edmundo Sosa then pinch hit for Arenado and flew out to center field to end the inning.
Kodi Whitley started the seventh inning for St. Louis and gave up a leadoff double to Schwarber. Castro followed by popping out to Carpenter. Harrison flew out to Edman who made a sliding catch for the second out. Avila closed out the top of the inning with a swinging strikeout, stranding Schwarber at second.
Austin Voth pitched the seventh for Washington and struck DeJong out looking. Carpenter followed, hitting a hard grounder up the middle where Castro dove to rob him of a hit. Carlson broke his bat on a soft grounder back up the middle for a two-out base hit. Knizner then grounded to Harrison, who threw to second for the last out of the inning.
Mercer led off the 8th for the Nats, flying out to left for the first out. Robles followed with a groundout to second. Stevenson flew out to center for the third out as Whitley pitched a clean inning for St. Louis.
Infielder Hernan Perez was summoned to pitch the 8th inning for the Nats. He faced Williams, who struck out swinging to lead off the inning. Lane Thomas pinch hit in the pitcher spot and Perez got him with a crafty 54 mph pitch for a swinging strikeout. Edman flew out to end the inning.
Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched the ninth for St. Louis. Perez led off for Washington, flying out to center. Bell then drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a passed ball by Knizner during Schwarber’s at bat. Schwarber blooped a single into left, giving the Nats runners at the corners with one out. Castro popped out to Carpenter, holding the runners in place. Harrison deposited a soft fly ball into right field, and Edman missed the catch as he dove for it. Bell and Schwarber scored on the double, bringing the score to 14-3.
Avila walked on a full count and Mercer popped out to Sosa, bringing the game to a close.
The win brings the Cardinals to 6-5 on the season, as the Nationals fall to 2-6. The series finale begins at 12:15 CT on Wednesday. Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals which is fitting, considering it will be the 2,000th game that Yadier Molina has caught in his career. The familiar battery is slated to face off against Joe Ross for Washington.
Ponce still looked really rough on the mound in the ninth. He was missing spots badly, and one can’t help but question the decision to bring him out again so soon after he had a dead arm in his start just two days before Tuesday’s game.
Final Pitching Lines
Flaherty (W, 2-0): 5 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / 0 HR
Cabrera: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Whitley: 2 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Ponce de Leon: 1 IP / 2 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Strasburg (L, 0-1): 4 IP / 8 R / 7 ER / 5 BB (2 IBB) / 3 K / 3 HR
Avilan: 1 IP / 6 H / 6 R / 3 ER / 2 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Suero: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Voth: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Perez: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR