NATIONALS ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF CONTENTION WITH REDS & PIRATES WINS
The Washington Nationals late-season charge for the playoffs ended Monday night, as they fell to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3, Combined with victories by the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, the Nats were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race.
Tanner Roark, outbattled by Cards starter Adam Wainright, took the loss, allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk in five innings.
The Nats went right to work on Wainright (W, 18-9, 3.01) in the first inning and took an early lead. Denard Span led the game off with a single and after Ryan Zimmerman flew out to deep center, Jayson Werth hit a rocket to left for his 24th home run of the season, giving the Nats a quick 2-0 lead.
That lead would be short-lived, however, as the Cardinals answered in the bottom half. Matt Carpenter drew a walk from Roark (L, 7-1, 1.74), went to third on a Matt Adams two-out single, and came home on Yadier Molina’s base hit.
The Cards tied it up in the fourth. David Freese singled and moved up a base on Daniel Descalsco’s single. Freese then scored on Shane Robinson’s soft line drive that fell in about a foot from the right field line.
Carlos Beltran broke the tie in the next inning. Jon Jay led off the fifth with a single and scored on Beltran’s no-doubt-about-it homer to right field.
The Nats got one back in the eighth. Anthony Rendon singled to lead off the frame and went to second on pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi’s bunt single. Denard Span sacrificed to move both runners up. Zimmerman grounded out to short to bring home Rendon, but Werth grounded to third to end the threat with the Nats still down a run.
THE GOOD: Jayson Werth. Nice homer.
THE BAD: Adam LaRoche went 0-for-4.
THE UGLY: Bryce Harper fouled a ball off his foot/shin area. Like he needs one more thing to worry about.
THE STATS: 7 hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. 0-for-4 with RISP, 3 LOB. No errors, one DP.
NEXT GAME: Tuesday against the Cardinals at 8:15 pm ET. Gio Gonzalez (11-7, 3.39) faces Michael Wacha (3-1, 3.21).