The offense’s feast-or-famine trend continued as the Cardinals notched four home runs, including a DeJong grand slam.
The Cardinals continued their road trip on Monday night, beginning a series in Washington with the Nationals. Jack Flaherty took the hill for the Cards while Joe Ross got the start for the Nats. Flaherty labored through six innings, throwing 107 pitches and giving up five runs, two of which were earned. Ross, who had not given up a run in two starts coming into the game, got rocked for four home runs and 10 earned runs in the Cardinals’ onslaught.
Tommy Edman struck out swinging at a 1-2 slider to start the game. Paul Goldschmidt followed suit, also waving at a slider. Nolan Arenado popped out to Ross to put the top of the Cardinals’ lineup down in order.
Trea Turner led off for the Nationals, working the count full before striking out on a four-seamer at the knees. Yadier Molina took a foul ball off his throwing hand despite having it protected behind him. The training crew came out to check on him and he remained in the game. Juan Soto followed and grounded a 2-0 sinker to short for the second out. Josh Bell then grounded a 3-2 pitch at Arenado to end the inning.
Yadier Molina, hitting cleanup again for the Cards, started the fourth with a lineout to short. Dylan Carlson grounded out to Ross after seeing eight pitches in his at-bat. Paul DeJong then turned on a belt-high fastball, lining it off the left field foul pole for a solo home run and a 1-0 Cardinals lead.
Matt Carpenter struck out swinging on a back-door slider to send the game to the bottom of the second.
Kyle Schwarber ripped a 111 mph line drive down the first baseline, but Goldschmidt was positioned perfectly to snag it for the first out.
Josh Harrison got ahead 3-0 in the count but flew out to Carpenter ranging back into shallow right. Starlin Castro grounded a 1-1 fastball to short to close the second clean inning for Flaherty.
Williams lined a base hit to left to lead things off for the Cardinals. Flaherty dropped a sacrifice bunt down the first baseline to move Williams to second. The next couple of pitches to Edman crossed up Yan Gomes and Gomes had to come out to the mound to get on the same page. Edman then got a hold of a 3-0 fastball, lifting it over the wall in left-center for a two-run shot and extending the Cards’ lead to 3-0. Goldschmidt followed and got solid contact on a 1-2 offspeed pitch, launching it into the bullpen in left field to go back-to-back with Edman for a 4-0 St. Louis lead.
Arenado followed with a first-pitch groundout to first base for the second out. Yadi struck out swinging on a slider to bring the Cardinals’ half of the inning to an end.
Gomes led off the bottom of the inning, working the count full before striking out waving at a slider from Flaherty for Jack’s 500th strikeout. Victor Robles struck out on a bad call as the first base umpire rung him on a swing that he obviously checked. Ross came up and notched the Nationals’ first hit with a bloop single to center field. Turner worked another full count before lining out to Williams in left field for the third out.
Carlson started off the fourth for the Cards and had a rough plate appearance as he fouled a ball off his knee before taking a fastball to the elbow for a hit-by-pitch. DeJong worked a full count and drew a walk on a fastball that missed outside, bringing up Carpenter with two on and no outs. Carp hit the ball hard through the shift for a base hit, knocking Carlson in to extend the lead to 5-0 for the Cardinals. Carpenter got thrown out at second on the play trying to extend the hit for a double.
Williams followed and walked on a full count. Flaherty, hitting with runners on the corners and one out, squared up to bunt on the first two pitches and immediately fell behind 0-2 in the count. Jack got the bunt down on the fourth pitch, scoring DeJong to bring the score to 6-0 and advancing Williams to second with the sacrifice. Edman brought the top of the inning to a close with a swinging strikeout on a 1-2 slider.
Soto worked the count full and drew a leadoff walk on a low slider from Flaherty. Bell lined a double down the third baseline, putting runners on second and third with no outs for Schwarber, who struck out looking at a fastball that painted the outside corner. The second pitch to Harrison was high and inside and got by Yadi to score Soto from third, closing the Cards’ lead to 6-1. Bell advanced to third on the wild pitch, and Harrison walked on a fastball that Flaherty overthrew into the dirt, resulting in runners on the corners and one away. Castro flew out to right, scoring Bell on the sacrifice to bring the score to 6-2. Gomes grounded the first pitch to Arenado, who threw to second for the final out of the inning.
Goldschmidt hit a hard grounder back up the middle for a leadoff base hit. Arenado followed with a line drive that carried over Schwarber’s head in left for a double, bringing up Yadi with runners on second and third with no outs. Molina grounded a ball to the left side of the infield, and Castro threw home to keep Goldschmidt from scoring. Goldschmidt ran back to third safely, and Arenado got into a rundown, allowing Yadi to advance to second and keeping runners at second and third, but now with one out.
Carlson received an intentional walk, and DeJong capitalized on the opportunity, launching an 0-1 fastball into the left field seats for a grand slam and a 10-2 Cardinals lead.
The Nationals called on Kyle Finnegan to pitch the rest of the inning, and he struck out Carpenter for the second out. Williams worked a full count in an eight-pitch at-bat before hitting a rocket to left-center for a home run of his own, putting the Cardinals ahead 11-2. Flaherty went down on strikes, ending the Cardinals’ half of the inning.
Robles started the bottom of the fifth for Washington, flying the first pitch to Edman who made a sliding catch in right for the first out. Jordy Mercer, pinch hitting for Finnegan, singled to left-center. Turner then struck out on a 2-2 fastball for out number two. Soto brought the inning to a close with a groundout back to Flaherty.
Mercer stayed in the game at shortstop as Ryne Harper replaced Finnegan to pitch the sixth for Washington, moving the pitcher spot to first in the Nats’ order. Edman and Goldschmidt started off the sixth with groundouts to first, and Arenado flew out to deep left to send the game to the bottom of the sixth.
Bell grounded a ball against the shift to Arenado, who booted the play and allowed Bell to reach on a fielding error. Schwarber flew out in foul territory to Carpenter, who made a nice over-the-shoulder catch on the play. Harrison one-hopped a deep flyball over the center field wall for a ground-rule-double, placing runners at second and third with one out. Castro grounded out to Arenado, who took the easy out at first and allowed Bell to score to close the Cards’ lead to 11-3. Gomes lifted a 1-1 fly ball over Williams’ head in left for a double, scoring Harrison to bring the score to 11-4.
Robles followed with yet another hit and Gomes scored to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 11-5. Mercer popped out to DeJong to end the inning, bringing Flaherty’s start to an end after 107 pitches.
Harper returned to pitch the seventh for the Nationals, getting Yadi to ground out on the first pitch of the inning for out number one. Carlson followed and popped out to third on a 1-2 pitch. DeJong struck out swinging over a 2-2 slider, putting the Cardinals down in order.
The Cards brought in Genesis Cabrera to pitch the bottom of the inning and he walked the pinch hitter Andrew Stevenson. Soto followed with a first-pitch double off the base of the wall in right field to bring up Bell with runners on second and third with no outs. Bell struck out swinging at a 97 mph fastball at eye level for the first out. Schwarber struck out swinging, getting rung up on a check swing by the third base umpire. Harrison then flew out to left, stranding both Nationals runners at second and third.
Kyle McGowin pitched the eighth inning for Washington and hit Carpenter on the toe with a back-foot slider. Scott Hurst was then brought in as a pinch runner for Carpenter. Williams took the first two pitches in his at-bat, the second of which went to the backstop, allowing Hurst to advance to second. Williams grounded a 3-2 pitch into the shift for the first out, advancing Hurst to third. John Nogowski pinch hit for Cabrera and grounded the ball to short. Mercer threw home and Gomes placed the tag on Hurst for the second out of the inning. Edman then hit a double to left, placing runners on second and third with two away for Goldschmidt, who singled on a ground ball to second. Nogowski scored on the hit to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 12-5.
Arenado, hitting with runners now at the corners, popped the 0-2 pitch of the at-bat to Bell in foul territory to retire the side.
Daniel Ponce de Leon got the call to pitch the eighth for the Cardinals and retired Castro on an 0-2 groundout. The first pitch to Gomes went high and inside, catching Gomes high off the shoulder to put him on first. Robles followed with a popout to Hurst, who remained in the game to play center field. Mercer then popped out to Edman, who moved to second in place of Carpenter, to send the game to the ninth.
Infielder Hernan Perez replaced McGowin to pitch his second game against the Cardinals in as many weeks. Yadi popped out to start the inning, and Carlson grounded a ball down the first baseline for a triple. DeJong followed with a popout to Harrison for out number two. Hurst lined out to center to close the inning, giving Hernan Perez his second scoreless inning against the Cardinals for the season.
Ponce de Leon continued to pitch in the ninth and got Hernan Perez on a groundout to second. Soto followed with a 1-1 groundout to third and Bell struck out for a clean inning from Ponce to end the game.
The Cardinals return to .500 at an 8-8 record on the season, while the Nationals fall to 5-9. The second game of the series begins at 6:05 PM CT on Tuesday. The probable starters are Adam Wainwright for St. Louis and Patrick Corbin for Washington.
Yadi played the entire game on Monday despite taking a foul tip off his throwing hand. While the injury apparently wasn’t severe enough to warrant pulling him immediately from the game, it will be interesting to see if it has any impact on his play, and on his hitting, in particular, moving forward.
Tyler O’Neill is reportedly due back from the 10-day IL on Friday. Harrison Bader took live BP on Monday and is currently estimated to return in early May. Miles Mikolas also faced live hitters on Sunday but was limited to throwing fastballs and changeups. Mikolas is expected to return to the pitching staff in late May (Credit to Zachary Silver at Cardinals.com for the injury updates).
The Cardinals are the only team this season that has not played a game that was decided by one run.
Shoutout to the Nats fan getting redemption on Williams’ home run ball, which was a really great baseball moment.
Final Pitching Lines
Flaherty (W, 3-0): 6 IP / 6 H / 5 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / 0 HR
Cabrera: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Ponce de Leon: 2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Ross (L, 1-1): 4.1 IP / 8 H / 10 R / 10 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / 4 HR
Finnegan: 0.2 IP / 1 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 1 HR
Harper: 2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
McGowin: 1 IP / 2 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Perez: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR