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Washington at St. Louis

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Washington (95-62)100000100261
St. Louis (85-72) «54000003x12110

Cardinals reduce magic number to 3

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Nine runs in 1-1/3 innings said it all. The St. Louis Cardinals took all the suspense out of a matchup of teams on the cusp of clinchers.

Even in a wipeout loss, the Washington Nationals took away a big positive.

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Allen Craig matched his career best with four hits to go with two RBI, Yadier Molina hit a two-run home run and the Cardinals punished Edwin Jackson in a 12-2 victory Friday night to reduce their magic number for clinching the second wild-card berth to three.

"I think our team's coming together nicely," St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright said. "We've been playing good ball for the last few weeks and we're going to be a very dangerous team if we get in there. When we get in there.

"Hopefully it happens sooner rather than later."

Roger Bernadina homered and Bryce Harper had his fourth consecutive multi-hit game for Washington, which saw its magic number for wrapping up the NL East cut to two when Atlanta lost to the Mets. The Nationals, who secured the first postseason berth for Washington, D.C., since 1933 a week earlier, lead the Braves by four games with five to play and could wrap up the division title Saturday night.

"That was a beating tonight, but we're obviously watching the scoreboard," the Nationals' Adam LaRoche said. "The Braves finally lost a game this month, so I guess we can take that as a positive."

Wainwright (14-13) halted a string of four so-so starts with six solid innings for the Cardinals. The defending World Series champions have won nine of 11 overall, and 11 of their last 12 at home against Washington since 2008.

St. Louis' win also eliminated Arizona from contention for a wild-card spot.

Jordan Zimmerman (12-8, 2.90) faces the Cardinals' Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.77) in the second game of a three-game series.

"This is a good team we're playing," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But we're a pretty good team, too."

The Nationals and Cincinnati Reds, who got a no-hitter from Homer Bailey in a 1-0 victory over the Pirates, are tied for the league's best record at 95-62. The team with the best overall record will open the NL division series on the road against the winner of a one-game playoff between the wild card teams.

Jackson (9-11) was chased early by a team that he dominated a month at home, allowing an unearned run in eight innings with 10 strikeouts in an 8-1 victory.

Jackson (9-11) left trailing 9-1 after just 1 1-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, in his first start in St. Louis since leaving as a free agent. Jackson was 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA down the stretch last fall, helping the Cardinals earn the wild card on the final day of the season, and was the winning pitcher in Game 4 of the NL division series over Philadelphia.

"Today's game was just very disappointing and embarrassing," Jackson said. "Your club is in a pennant race and you have a game like that, it definitely leaves a bitter taste in your mouth that you did absolutely nothing to give your team a chance to win."

Jackson said returning for the first time to the city he helped win a World Series had nothing to do with his woes.

"That didn't have any effect at all," Jackson said. "No pressure, no added emotions or anything like that."

The Cardinals topped six runs for the first time since beating the Nationals 10-9 on Sept. 1 on the road. Their run total was the most allowed by Washington this season.

Manager Davey Johnson conceded before the bottom of the fifth when he took out four regulars, including 1-2/3 hitters Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. He pulled two more starters in the middle of the sixth, and in the bottom of the seventh only seventh-place hitter Danny Espinosa remained in the lineup, although not at his original position after moving from second base to shortstop earlier.

"It wasn't happening tonight," Johnson said. `But we got a little help from our friends, so that's nice."

Matheny took out Molina and Carlos Beltran after seven innings. A third starter, Matt Holliday, was removed after getting hit by a pitch on the left elbow by Christian Garcia in the sixth. The team said Holliday had a contusion and was day to day.

"Everything came back pretty negative, but it's a bad spot," Matheny said. "I don't care if you hit it on the bone, a ball thrown that hard, that's a bad spot."

A few minutes later in his postgame news conference, Matheny had a much brighter outlook, saying, "To me, Matt Holliday's going to get locked in here any day."

LaRoche drove in his 99th run in the first, but that cushion didn't last long for Washington.

The first five Cardinals hitters scored and the first seven reached safely with the help of a late throw on a forceout attempt by shortstop Ian Desmond and a fielding error by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, trying for a force at the plate on Molina's slow roller with the bases loaded.

Craig's RBI single and Daniel Descalso's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, the first out of the inning, were the only hard-hit balls in a five-run first. In 30 starts, Jackson has allowed 25 runs on 36 hits and 18 walks in the first.

Jon Jay doubled to open the four-run second. Craig got another RBI single ahead of Molina's 22nd homer into the visitor's bullpen in left and Jackson was yanked after walking Beltran for the second time.

Jackson matched his season worst with eight earned runs allowed, failed to strike out anyone for the first time this year, and threw two wild pitches after entering his 30th start with just one all season. He has allowed 25 runs in the first inning.

Notes

  • Jackson's shortest-ever outing is just one-third of an inning in a 9-1 loss to the Padres on June 13, 2007 when he was with Tampa Bay.
  • The Cardinals honored the staff of their Springfield, Mo., affiliate, the Texas League champions, in a pregame ceremony.
  • Shane Robinson, who replaced Holliday, hit a two-run homer in the eighth.
 
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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Allen Craig watches his RBI single during the first inning of the Cardinals' win over the Nationals. (AP)
Allen Craig watches his RBI single during the first inning of the Cardinals' win over the Nationals. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Craig
AB 4
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 2
Washington

B. Harper
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jayson Werth, RF3000002 .301
    Corey Brown, RF1000111 .200
Bryce Harper, CF3120000 .266
    Mark DeRosa, 3B1000011 .182
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3010012 .285
    Christian Garcia, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Moore, LF0000100 .264
Adam LaRoche, 1B3011001 .268
    Chad Tracy, 1B1000001 .276
Michael Morse, LF3000012 .287
    Zach Duke, P0000000 .000
   a- Eury Perez, PH1000001 .333
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
Ian Desmond, SS3010010 .294
    Stephen Lombardozzi, 2B1000001 .273
Danny Espinosa, 2B-SS4000011 .250
Kurt Suzuki, C2000011 .234
    Jesus Flores, C2000010 .216
Edwin Jackson, P0000100 .236
    Tom Gorzelanny, P0000000 .400
   b- Roger Bernadina, PH-CF2111100 .291
Totals3326248  
a-hit into fielder's choice for Duke in the 8th
b-grounded out for Gorzelanny in the 5th
Batting
2B - Bryce Harper (24, Wainwright), Ryan Zimmerman (35, Wainwright)
HR - Roger Bernadina (5, Kelly)
RBI - Adam LaRoche (99), Roger Bernadina (24)
2-OUT RBI - Adam LaRoche (39), Roger Bernadina (12)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Desmond-Espinosa-LaRoche, Espinosa-Desmond-LaRoche, Espinosa-Lombardozzi-Tracy
E - Ryan Zimmerman (19, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Edwin Jackson (L,9-11) 1.1698401 4.13
Tom Gorzelanny 2.2100220 2.90
Christian Garcia 2100020 2.70
Zach Duke 1000000 0.84
Mike Gonzalez 1333001 3.12
HBP - Holliday (by Christian Garcia)
WP - Edwin Jackson 2 (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Edwin Jackson 53-24, Tom Gorzelanny 37-21, Christian Garcia 25-16, Zach Duke 10-7, Mike Gonzalez 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edwin Jackson 4-1, Tom Gorzelanny 3-2, Christian Garcia 2-1, Zach Duke 2-1, Mike Gonzalez 2-1
Batters Faced - Edwin Jackson 15, Tom Gorzelanny 10, Christian Garcia 7, Zach Duke 3, Mike Gonzalez 6
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jon Jay, CF5220001 .302
Matt Carpenter, 3B-1B3311200 .300
Matt Holliday, LF3101010 .292
    Shane Robinson, PR-LF1112000 .250
Allen Craig, 1B4242000 .313
   a- Ryan Jackson, PH-2B1000000 .154
Yadier Molina, C3213101 .320
    Adron Chambers, RF1000000 .220
Carlos Beltran, RF1001300 .265
    Trevor Rosenthal, P0000000 .000
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
Daniel Descalso, 2B-3B3001004 .223
Pete Kozma, SS4011010 .276
Adam Wainwright, P3000021 .121
    Joe Kelly, P0000000 .152
    Tony Cruz, C1110000 .256
Totals3312111264  
a-flied out for Craig in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jon Jay (20, Jackson), Matt Carpenter (22, Gonzalez), Tony Cruz (9, Gonzalez)
HR - Shane Robinson (3, Gonzalez), Yadier Molina (22, Jackson)
SF - Daniel Descalso (3)
RBI - Matt Carpenter (45), Matt Holliday (101), Shane Robinson 2 (16), Allen Craig 2 (91), Yadier Molina 3 (75), Carlos Beltran (92), Daniel Descalso (25), Pete Kozma (9)
Team LOB - 5
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Adam Wainwright (W,14-13) 6511150 3.94
Joe Kelly 1111121 3.63
Trevor Rosenthal 1000100 3.00
Fernando Salas 1000110 4.19
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 84-53, Joe Kelly 22-12, Trevor Rosenthal 20-14, Fernando Salas 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 5-8, Joe Kelly 1-0, Trevor Rosenthal 2-1, Fernando Salas 1-1
Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 24, Joe Kelly 5, Trevor Rosenthal 4, Fernando Salas 4
Game Information
Attendance - 39166
Game Time - 2:51
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Cory Blaser, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Jeff Nelson