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St. Louis at Washington

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St. Louis (72-62)000000210371
Washington (81-52) «00010120x4132

Strasburg sharp in no-decision vs. Cards

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Life on the road was welcoming for St. Louis at the start of its 10-game trip. Now, the defending World Series champion Cardinals can't wait to get home.

Stephen Strasburg allowed two hits over six scoreless innings, striking out nine before being pulled Sunday as the Washington Nationals beat St. Louis 4-3.

The Cardinals lost three of four at Nationals Park and five of six overall while trying to hold off Pittsburgh for the final NL wild-card berth.

St. Louis remains one game ahead of Pittsburgh in the race for the final playoff spot. After a grueling road trip, there are worse places to be.

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"Our goal is to make it to the playoffs and we're right where we want to be as far as that's concerned," outfielder John Jay said. "I still like the shape our team's in. I think we're going to be all right."

St. Louis began its trip by scoring 22 runs in winning three of four from NL Central rivals Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. During the final six games, the Cardinals were outscored 45-13 to finish at 4-6.

Strasburg had something to do with the Cardinals early troubles in the finale.

"Strasburg threw the ball well, kept us at bay," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Walking out of here after a tough trip 5-5 would've been real nice."

The NL East-leading Nationals took three of four from St. Louis and passed their 80-win total from last season.

Strasburg, rocked for seven runs last Tuesday at Miami, left with a 2-0 lead and a 2.94 ERA. He threw 97 pitches and wound up with a no-decision.

The 23-year-old Strasburg has struck out a league-leading 195 in 156 1/3 innings this season. The Nationals have repeatedly stated they intend on shutting him down in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010.

The Nationals have been vague about an innings limit, but the team sat Jordan Zimmermann at 161 1/3 innings last season in a similar situation.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said on Thursday that Strasburg is probably down to "two or three" starts, meaning the final one could come Sept. 7 at home against Miami or Sept. 12 at the New York Mets.

Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa produced two-out RBI singles in the seventh that lifted Washington. Kurt Suzuki homered and drove in two runs for the Nationals.

The Cardinals rallied in the seventh after Strasburg left with three hits against reliever Sean Burnett, including Daniel Descalso's two-run homer.

Washington responded with four consecutive two-out singles against Lance Lynn (13-6). Desmond's flare to center scored pinch-runner Eury Perez with the go-ahead run. Espinosa had three of the Nationals' 13 hits.

Ryan Mattheus (2-3) pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing a run on Tony Cruz's RBI double in the eighth. Tyler Clippard, the worked the ninth for his 29th save.

Lynn pitched one inning, allowing two runs on four hits for the Cardinals, who have lost five of six while trying to hold off Pittsburgh for the final NL wild-card berth.

Facing the Cardinals for the first time, Strasburg gave up Matt Holliday's two-out double in the first. The All-Star ace held St. Louis without another hit until Holliday's sixth-inning single.

Strasburg walked one overall. He fanned at least two hitters in four innings and regained the NL strikeout lead by whiffing St. Louis pitcher Jake Westbrook in the fifth.

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's throwing error, a walk and a wild pitch put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth. Holliday attempted to score the game's first run on Bryan Anderson's shallow fly ball to right, but Bryce Harper easily threw him out at the plate for the final out.

Usually in center, Harper shifted to right with Jayson Werth scratched from the lineup minutes before the first pitch.

Suzuki, acquired in a trade with Oakland last month, stroked his third homer on the season in the bottom half. In the sixth, he tacked on a third consecutive single against Westbrook, which scored Desmond and ended Westbrook's day.

Westbrook allowed two runs on nine hits with six strikeouts and one walk. He avoided his third loss in four starts when Descalso turned on a 3-1 pitch from Burnett for his fourth home run of the season.

"It was a lot better today than the last two starts," said Westbrook, strafed by Houston and Pittsburgh for 12 runs and 18 hits in 10 innings. "It was kind of a grind all day, but I was able to make some decent pitches."

Notes

  • Matheny rested All-Star catcher Yadier Molina and infielder Skip Schumaker.
  • St. Louis returns home Monday and has Joe Kelly facing Mets starter Collin McHugh.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Stephen Strasburg's (nine Ks, no runs allowed) arm is holding up just fine after surpassing 156 innings on the season. (AP)
Stephen Strasburg's (nine Ks, no runs allowed) arm is holding up just fine after surpassing 156 innings on the season. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

D. Descalso
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Washington

K. Suzuki
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jon Jay, CF4000020 .312
Carlos Beltran, RF4000012 .266
    Sam Freeman, P0000000 .000
Matt Holliday, LF4020000 .305
Allen Craig, 1B-RF4000021 .309
David Freese, 3B3110112 .300
Bryan Anderson, C2000012 .333
   a- Tony Cruz, PH-C2011000 .257
Pete Kozma, SS3110020 .167
   b- Matt Carpenter, PH-1B1000001 .308
Daniel Descalso, 2B-SS4112010 .220
Jake Westbrook, P2000010 .125
    Edward Mujica, P0000000 .000
   c- Shane Robinson, PH1010000 .265
    Lance Lynn, P0000000 .071
    Skip Schumaker, 2B1000000 .296
Totals35373111  
a-flied out for Anderson in the 7th
b-flied out for Kozma in the 8th
c-singled for Mujica in the 7th
Batting
2B - Matt Holliday (33, Strasburg), David Freese (23, Mattheus), Tony Cruz (8, Mattheus)
HR - Daniel Descalso (4, Burnett)
RBI - Tony Cruz (11), Daniel Descalso 2 (19)
2-OUT RBI - Tony Cruz (3), Daniel Descalso 2 (7)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jon Jay 1
DP - Kozma-Descalso-Craig
E - Daniel Descalso (11, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Westbrook 5.1922161 3.93
Edward Mujica 0.2000010 3.17
Lance Lynn (L,13-6) 1422000 4.08
Sam Freeman 1000000 5.54
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 97-63, Edward Mujica 5-5, Lance Lynn 23-15, Sam Freeman 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 4-6, Lance Lynn 2-0, Sam Freeman 1-2
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 26, Edward Mujica 2, Lance Lynn 6, Sam Freeman 3
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Roger Bernadina, CF-LF4000023 .300
   a- Tyler Moore, PH-LF1000000 .282
Bryce Harper, RF4000010 .254
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4010001 .283
Michael Morse, LF4020010 .289
    Eury Perez, PR-CF0100000 .000
Chad Tracy, 1B4120002 .286
Ian Desmond, SS4121011 .285
Danny Espinosa, 2B4031010 .253
Kurt Suzuki, C3122100 .224
Stephen Strasburg, P2010013 .277
   b- Adam LaRoche, PH1000002 .260
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Mattheus, P0000000 .000
   c- Mark DeRosa, PH1000000 .149
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
Totals36413417  
a-flied out for Bernadina in the 8th
b-flied out for Strasburg in the 6th
c-grounded out for Mattheus in the 8th
Batting
HR - Kurt Suzuki (3, Westbrook)
RBI - Ian Desmond (59), Danny Espinosa (49), Kurt Suzuki 2 (28)
2-OUT RBI - Ian Desmond (29), Danny Espinosa (26), Kurt Suzuki (9)
SB - Eury Perez (1, 3rd base off Lynn/Cruz)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Bryce Harper 1
DP - Harper-Suzuki
E - Chad Tracy (1, Missed catch of throw), Ryan Zimmerman (12, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Stephen Strasburg 6200190 2.94
Sean Burnett (BS,3) 0.2322001 2.49
Ryan Mattheus (W,5-1) 1.1211010 2.50
Tyler Clippard (S,29) 1000010 2.69
HBP - Jay (by Ryan Mattheus)
WP - Stephen Strasburg (5), Ryan Mattheus (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Stephen Strasburg 97-65, Sean Burnett 19-11, Ryan Mattheus 24-14, Tyler Clippard 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Stephen Strasburg 5-5, Sean Burnett 1-1, Ryan Mattheus 2-1, Tyler Clippard 2-0
Batters Faced - Stephen Strasburg 22, Sean Burnett 5, Ryan Mattheus 7, Tyler Clippard 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31096
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Clint Fagan