|St. Louis (86-73) «||0||5||2||2||0||0||0||1||x||10||12||0|
Carlos Beltran homered from both sides of the plate for the ninth time in his career and drove in five runs, leading St. Louis over the Nationals 10-4 on Sunday.
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"We're one step closer, but there's still a long way to go," said Mike Matheny, who took over as manager from Tony La Russa after the Cardinals won last year's World Series. "We've got to keep playing and playing well. The guys came out pushing today against a very good team."
St. Louis (86-73) took a 7-0 lead by the third inning and holds a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers (84-75), who beat Colorado 7-1.
Washington (96-63), already assured of the capital's first postseason baseball since 1933, saw its magic number for clinching the NL East remain at one over second-place Atlanta (93-66).
"We've had rough outings before," manager Davey Johnson said. "We've bounced back. It's better to clinch it at home anyway."
Beltran hit a pair of two-run homers, connecting right-handed off Ross Detwiler (10-8) in the second and left-handed against Chien-Ming Wang in the fourth. Beltran has four multihomer games this season and 34 in his career. He improved to 32 home runs with 97 RBI in his first season with St. Louis.
"Sometimes it happens where you feel from both sides, but most of the time you feel good from one side," Beltran said. "But it's always good to have a day like today where you have a good at-bat on the left and the right side."
Beltran entered in a 1-for-14 slide that had dropped his batting average to .265.
"As ballplayers, you're going to go through good stretches and bad stretches," Beltran said. "I try not to focus on that. I try to focus on the work that I do, come to the ballpark and prepare myself."
Matheny knows Beltran has been working hard.
"It's great to see for him," Matheny said. "The guy cares so much and it sometimes isn't translated in such a workmanlike attitude. It's really been bother him that he hasn't been able to step up. Days like today remind us of good he is."
Lance Lynn (18-7) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, improving to 5-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last five appearances.
"We won. That's all that matters," Lynn said. "You try to win series right now and do everything you can to win every game possible."
Pete Kozma was 3 for 3 with three RBI, raising his average to .338.
Detwiler, a St. Louis area native making his first start in his hometown, allowed seven runs -- three earned -- four hits and five walks in 2 1/3 innings. He set season highs for fewest innings and most walks.
"I just didn't throw any strikes," Detwiler said, who threw 43 of 81 pitches in the strike zone. "You walk five people in two innings, you won't have much success doing that."
St. Louis took a 5-0 lead in the second after Yadier Molina and David Freese walked, and second baseman Danny Espinosa booted Daniel Descalso's grounder, loading the bases. Kozma hit a two-run double down the right-field line, with Descalso thrown out at the plate on Espinosa's relay from Jayson Werth. Jon Jay's one-out single made it 3-0, and Beltran homered.
Harper's homer, Ian Desmond's RBI double and Espinosa's two-run homer cut the deficit to 7-4 in the fourth, but Beltran connected off Wang in the bottom half, and Beltran hit an RBI single against Zach Duke.
"The offense did great today," Lynn said "I was able to do my job, except for the fourth inning."
|For the ninth time in his career, the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran homers from both sides of the plate. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Jayson Werth, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.298|
|Bryce Harper, CF||3||1||1||1||1||0||1||.269|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.284|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||4||1||2||0||0||1||1||.271|
|Michael Morse, LF||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.286|
|Ian Desmond, SS||3||1||1||1||0||2||1||.292|
|Danny Espinosa, 2B||4||1||1||2||0||0||0||.250|
|Kurt Suzuki, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.235|
|Ross Detwiler, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.044|
|Chien-Ming Wang, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.167|
|Craig Stammen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Christian Garcia, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Roger Bernadina, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.290|
|Zach Duke, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Chad Tracy, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.270|
|a-grounded out for Garcia in the 7th|
|b-grounded out for Duke in the 9th|
|2B - Jayson Werth (21, Lynn), Adam LaRoche (34, Boggs), Ian Desmond (33, Lynn)|
|HR - Bryce Harper (22, Lynn), Danny Espinosa (17, Lynn)|
|RBI - Bryce Harper (59), Ian Desmond (73), Danny Espinosa 2 (56)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ian Desmond (31), Danny Espinosa 2 (29)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Outfield Assists - Jayson Werth 1|
|E - Danny Espinosa (13, Misplayed grounder)|
|Ross Detwiler (L,10-8)||2.1||4||7||3||5||3||1||3.40|
|WP - Chien-Ming Wang 2 (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ross Detwiler 81-43, Chien-Ming Wang 44-24, Craig Stammen 3-2, Christian Garcia 7-7, Zach Duke 42-24|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ross Detwiler 3-1, Chien-Ming Wang 4-3, Zach Duke 2-3|
|Batters Faced - Ross Detwiler 16, Chien-Ming Wang 11, Craig Stammen 1, Christian Garcia 3, Zach Duke 11|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Jon Jay, CF||4||3||2||1||1||0||1||.306|
|Carlos Beltran, RF||4||2||3||5||1||0||0||.269|
|Matt Holliday, LF||4||0||1||0||1||2||1||.292|
|Allen Craig, 1B||5||0||1||0||0||1||4||.310|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||1||0||0||1||1||3||.317|
|David Freese, 3B||3||2||0||0||2||1||3||.294|
|Daniel Descalso, 2B||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.228|
|Pete Kozma, SS||3||1||3||3||0||0||0||.338|
|Lance Lynn, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.060|
|Trevor Rosenthal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Edward Mujica, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Shane Robinson, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.248|
|Mitchell Boggs, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Joe Kelly, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.152|
|a-hit into fielder's choice for Mujica in the 7th|
|2B - Jon Jay (21, Duke), Pete Kozma (5, Detwiler)|
|HR - Carlos Beltran 2 (32, Detwiler, Wang)|
|SF - Pete Kozma (2)|
|SH - Lance Lynn (10)|
|RBI - Jon Jay (40), Carlos Beltran 5 (97), Pete Kozma 3 (14)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jon Jay (15), Carlos Beltran 2 (26)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Freese-Descalso-Craig|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Lance Lynn (W,18-7)||5.1||6||4||4||1||9||2||3.78|
|HBP - Suzuki (by Lance Lynn), Desmond (by Lance Lynn)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Lance Lynn 99-69, Trevor Rosenthal 7-4, Edward Mujica 8-6, Mitchell Boggs 16-11, Joe Kelly 13-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Lance Lynn 4-2, Trevor Rosenthal 1-1, Edward Mujica 2-1, Mitchell Boggs 1-0, Joe Kelly 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Lance Lynn 24, Trevor Rosenthal 2, Edward Mujica 3, Mitchell Boggs 4, Joe Kelly 3|
|Attendance - 40084|
|Game Time - 3:07|
|Temperature - 70|
|Umpires - Home - Chris Guccione, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Cory Blaser|