On nights when the Washington Nationals find their groove, their offense has the power to stun opposing pitchers.
Thursday was not one of those nights.
The Washington Nationals started their 11-game home stretch with a downright frustrating 8-0 loss to Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals.
From start to finish Wainwright (W, 3-1) was stellar on the mound, holding the Nats to just two hits through nine innings to record his seventh career shutout. And, from the batter’s box, he wasn’t so bad either – adding a double and a single to the Cardinals’ 14 total hits.
To make matters worse, the Nats tallied a whopping four errors on the night – two of which came from shortstop Ian Desmond, who now boasts seven errors on the season. Through 16 games, Washington has 20 total errors.
Desmond’s first error helped the Cardinals run with an early lead. The very first batter of the game – Matt Carpenter – reached first base safely after Desmond failed to field the routine drive.
But, Nats’ starter Taylor Jordan (L, 0-2) certainly committed his share of gaffes. He allowed a single to Kolten Wong and a quick double to Matt Holliday, which brought home Carpenter. Matt Adams’ grounder plated Kolten, and Yadier Molina singled in Holliday to give St. Louis an all-too-easy three-run lead.
After the first, however, Jordan regained at least brief control. Unfortunately, he lacked offense to back him up.
In fact, the bottom of the first marked the first of six total innings in which the Nats’ batters would retire in order.
The second inning proved the only time Washington threatened. Adam LaRoche led off with a walk before Desmond sought some redemption by way of a single up the middle. But, Danny Espinosa and Nate McLouth had no success in the box, and Wainwright intentionally walked Jose Lobaton to strike out Jordan in the nine-spot.
In the fourth, the Cardinals tacked on an insurance run. After Jhonny Peralta doubled with one out, Jon Jay reached on a throwing error by none other than Desmond. And, things went from bad to worse as Wainwright reached on a force attempt, which featured a miss catch error by Espinosa. The play allowed Peralta to score, but Jordan was able to prevent additional runs from crossing home plate.
In the sixth, however, Jordan simply lost control over his pitches. After striking out Peralta, he hit Jay with a runaway fastball before allowing Wainwright to single. By the time Jordan walked Carpenter to load the bases, the Nats had seen enough.
Unfortunately, reliever Blake Treinen had no added luck.
He struck out Wong on a 96-MPH fastball, but allowed Holliday to single in Jay, before Adams singled in both Wainwright and Carpenter.
Despite the sloppy inning and an added run in the seventh, Nationals manager Matt Williams seemingly allowed Treinen to sweat it out until the ninth.
When it came time for Jerry Blevins to take the mound, the Nats were down eight runs and had officially tallied twice as many errors as hits, thanks to a fielding error by Jayson Werth in the top of the eighth. Werth appeared to have lost a line drive by Molina in the lights as he charged forward with no hope of coming close to catching the ball.
The Nats will will want to turn their luck around tonight with left-hander Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.50) taking on Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha (2-0, 1.89).
Last season, the Nats went 0-6 against St. Louis.