Tonight’s game in D.C. featured a pair of sneaky good southpaws doing the tango in our nation’s capital, with Jordan Montgomery squaring off with Mackenzie Gore — one of the headliners of last year’s Juan Soto trade.
As I put in my recap after yesterday’s win, perhaps the Cardinals can use their series win over the Mets as a springboard for better playing moving forward and for the rest of the first half.
Here are the lineups for the Cards and Nats Tuesday night:
- Tommy Edman, CF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Willson Contreras, DH
- Jordan Walker, LF
- Dylan Carlson, RF
- Paul DeJong, SS
- Andrew Knizner, C
- Brendan Donovan, 2B
Jordan Montgomery, SP
- Lane Thomas, RF
- Luis Garcia, 2B
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B
- Joey Meneses, DH
- Stone Garrett, LF
- Dominic Smith, 1B
- Riley Adams, C
- Victor Robles, CF
- CJ Abrams, SS
Mackenzie Gore - SP
The Cardinals topped yesterday’s eight runs with nine today. Dylan Carlson had his third multi-homer game of his career, Jordan Montgomery went seven strong, and Willson Contreras had his first three-hit game in nearly a calendar year.
My “we should bench DeJong and start Carlson” campaign was looking great for the first eight innings, but a late Pauly D homer makes it hard for me to demand Oli Marmol plant him on the bench. Soon, soon. Just not today.
Here’s how today’s game went for the Redbirds:
Tommy Edman led off and popped out on the infield. Goldschmidt and Arenado followed and each hit deep fly balls to center field, but both were caught by Victor Robles, who was positioned very, very deep. Gore threw seven pitches in the top of the first.
Lane Thomas led off for the Nats and flew out to Edman in center. Garcia hit a soft ground ball back to Montgomery for the second out, and Candelario flew out to Edman as wel. Montgomry threw six pitchs in the bottom of the first.
Willson Contreras hit a soft line drive to shortstop for the first out of the second inning. Jordan Walker’s fly ball to center field dropped in front of Robles for a one-out base knock, and Dylan Carlson drove Walker and himself in moments later with a two-run tank to center field, making it 2-0 Cardinals in the second. The 445-foot, 106mph blast was Carlson’s fourth of the season and was the farthest ball hit at Nationals Park this season so far.
Gore bounced back after the homer, striking out DeJong and getting Knizner to fly out to right field to end the top half of the second.
Another quick and easy inning for Montgomery in the bottom of the second. Meneses flew out to Carlson in right, Garrett looked at strike three on the outside corner, and Smith grounded out to his first base counterpart, Goldschmidt.
Donovan capped off a six-pitch at bat by looping a soft line drive over Garcia’s head into right field for a leadoff single. Edman flew out to center for the first out of the third, and Goldschmidt hit a 108mph ground ball to Candelario that became an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Montgomery struck out Riley Adams with a changeup to start the bottom half of the inning, but Robles woke up the monotonous Nationals offense with a single to center field — Washington’s first hit of the game. Abrams grounded into a force out at second base, with Goldschmidt throwing down to second for an out (the second out). Lane Thomas flew out to right field to end the third.
St. Louis loaded the bases in the fourth, but as they do quite often with the bases loaded.... they did not score.
Arenado led off the inning with a sharp flyout to center field, which is exactly what he did in his first at bat, too. Contreras then wacked a one-out double down into the left field corner. Walker struck out looking for the second out, but Carlson and DeJong each worked walks to load the bases up. Andrew Knizner watched strike three fly right down the middle of the plate at 95 mph for the third out.
While the Nationals outfield allignment has been extremely deep this series, the Cardinals have been playing much shallower, comparatively. This was tested in the fourth, as Garcia bombed a fly ball deep to right field, over the head of Carlson. DC3 was unable to get back and make a play on it, and the ball wound up landing on the warning track and bouncing up against the wall for a leadoff triple.
Montgomery almost kept Garcia at third, as he got a groundout from Candelario and a popout from Meneses to make it a runner on third with two down. But Stone Garrett came through with a two-out RBI double, ripping a first pitch double down into the left field corner to get the Nationals on the board, 2-1.
Montgomery struck out Dominic Smith to end the fourth, having thrown 55 pitches through four frames.
St. Louis strung together some hits in the fifth to extend their lead.
Donovan had a very un-Donovan like at bat, leading off the inning with a three pitch strikeout. Edman and Goldschmidt reached with back-to-back base hits, and then both moved up a base on a successful double steal. With two runners in scoring position, Arenado hit a fly ball to deep left field — good enough to score Edman on a sac fly to make it 3-1.
Contreras then stepped in and hit a line drive double into the right-center field gap, scoring Goldschmidt to make it 4-1. It was Contreras’s second double of the game, and his 14th of the season. Walker struck out swinging for the third and final out.
It was an easy fifth inning for Montgomery, retiring all three batters he faced. Riley Adams lined out to Donovan at second, Robles swung and chopped a little swinging bunt that Knizner jumped on and threw him out, and Abrams grounded out to first base (he was initially ruled safe, but the Cardinals challenged and it was overturned).
Dylan Carlson led off the top of the sixth and tattooed a full count fastball into the bullpen in left field for a solo homer — his second of the ballgame and his fifth of the season. Carlson’s 404-foot homer made it 5-1 St. Louis, and it was his third career multi-homer game.
DeJong and Knizner both struck out for the first two outs of the sixth, followed by a two-out base hit to right field for Donovan. Edman struck out swinging to end the top of the sixth.
Montgomery returned for the bottom of the sixth and put up another scoreless frame. Lane Thomas singled to left field to start things off, but he was erased a few seconds later when Garcia’s chopper up the middle found Paul DeJong, who was more or less standing on the second base bag when the ball arrived. He stepped on second and threw to first for an easy 6-3 double play. Candelario struck out swinging at a high fastball to end the frame.
Gore’s final line: 6 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 8 K’s (98 pitches)
Right-hander Thaddeus Ward became the second Washington pitcher in the seventh inning, making his 19th appearance of the year. Goldschmidt courteously greeted him with a base hit the other way into right field. Goldschmidt advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and then to third when Arenado chopped a lazy ground ball to second base, where Garcia made the play.
Down 1-2, Contreras reached way out of the zone and slapped an 89 mph cutter into right field for an RBI base hit, making it 6-1 St. Louis. That hit plus his two doubles made it a three-hit day for Contreras, his first three-hit game since June 29, 2022.
Lars Nootbaar pinch-hit for Walker and struck out, and Carlson grounded out to second base for the third out in the top of the seventh.
Joey Meneses led off and popped out for the first out, followed by a six-pitch walk from Stone Garrett. Montgomery bounced back to strike out Smith and Adams to get out of the seventh, ending his night with just one earned run over seven frames.
Montgomery’s final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K’s (94 pitches)
Ward came back out for the eighth and DeJong kicked things off with a groundout to short. Knizner and Donovan each ripped base hits into the outfield to put two runners on, and Edman drew a six-pitch walk to load the bases with one out for Paul Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt was sawed off by a 2-2 sinker, but he hit it so slow that Garcia’s only play was at first, allowing Knizner to score to make it 7-1 St. Louis. Arenado stepped in with two runners in scoring position and popped out.
Drew VerHagen became the second St. Louis pitcher of the ballgame in the eighth, taking over after seven strong innings from Montgomery. Unlike Montgomery, VerHagen gaven up exclusively hard contact in the eighth.
Robles led off with a long single off the left field wall, played perfectly by Nootbaar in left and back into the infield to keep the speedy outfielder at first. Abrams followed with a 107mph line drive double into the right-center gap, moving Robles to third base. Thomas ht a sac fly to left field, scoring Robles to make it 7-2. Garcia lined out to Carlson in right, with Abrams tagging up and going to third base. Candelario grounded out to first base to end the eighth.
Right-hander Hunter Harvey was the second Nats reliever to pitch in this game after Ward struggled through the seventh and eighth. It was already the 28-year old’s 29th appearance of the season, and the Cardinals made sure to score off of him, too.
It all started with Harvey plunking Contreras with his very first pitch, putting the leadoff man on for St. Louis. Nootbaar and Carlson both flew out to left field to make two quick outs, but Harvey made a 3-1 mistake to DeJong and he promptly deposited it 433 feet away, onto the grass Nationals logo beyond the center field wall. Pauly D’s 11th homer of the season made it 9-2 Cardinals in the ninth.
Knizner reached via walk with two outs, and Donovan reached first when Abrams’ throw went well over the head of Dominic Smith at first base, with Knizner moving to third. Edman grounded out to third base to end the top of the ninth, with Washington needing seven to tie.
Jake Woodford jogged in from the pen, tasked with protecting a touchdown lead and secure another series win for the Cardinals. After striking out Meneses, Ston Garrett’s ground ball up the middle bounced off second base and into center field for a one-out single. Smith flew out, and Riley Adams made it 9-3 by ringing a triple down into the right field corner, scoring Garrett.
Robles grounded out to short to end the ballgame.
FINAL: Cardinals 9, Nationals 3
The Cardinals (31-43) go for the sweep tomorrow in D.C. against the Nationals (27-45). The Cardinals last sweep was their three-game sweep of the Red Sox from May 12-14. Miles Mikolas (4-4, 4.36 ERA) will throw for St. Louis. In his last three starts, Miles has allowed 13 earned runs on 25 hits over a combined 17 innings. Trevor Williams (3-4, 4.50 ERA) is set to pitch for Washington. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
Around the Central
Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Reds 8, Rockies 6
Brewers 6, D-Backs 5 - TOP 7
MLB Pickle #468 - 4/9