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Washington at St. Louis

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Washington (9-9)000001000150
St. Louis (10-8) «40010000x581

Cardinals 5, Nationals 1

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JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - Adam Wainwright has no idea who the fan was that gave him that picture last week. He'd sure like to tell them thank you.

Wainwright limited Washington to one run in six strong innings in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-1 exhibition victory over the Nationals on Friday, his second consecutive impressive start since a fan helped him fix a mechanical flaw.

The right-hander was leaving the stadium following a rough start against the Nationals on March 2 when a group of fans handed him picture. He noticed his stride had shortened this spring and he extended it 6 inches for his next outing. In two starts since the change, he has allowed one earned run in 10 2-3 innings.

"It's made a huge deal," Wainwright said. "It gives my pitches more life. I've found that happy zone where I'm not extended too far where my ball flattens out but I'm a little bit closer to the plate now and I'm able to get on top of the ball so I'm getting better downhill plane. It really was an adjustment that helped in all aspects."

Facing mostly Washington backups, Wainwright took a shutout into the sixth inning and allowed only three hits on the day manager Mike Matheny officially confirmed he'd start opening day April 1 in Arizona.

Jon Jay and Matt Adams homered in a four-run first inning for the Cardinals. Nationals starter Dan Haren rebounded from there, allowing just one earned run and two hits in the next four innings.

Haren, the right-hander who signed a one-year deal with the Nationals in the offseason, gave up five earned runs and six hits in five innings. He has a 5.79 ERA in four spring starts.

"That was just one of those days, man," Haren said. "I felt like I was throwing a weighted ball out there. It was just bad all the way around. As I went along it was a little bit better, but my first couple starts were far and away better than this.

"I don't know if it's dead arm or I don't even know what that is, I just didn't feel great."

Former pitcher Micah Owings had another solid day at the plate for Washington as he continues to try and make the switch from the mound to full-time position player. Owings, who will likely start the year at Triple-A, hit a grand slam Thursday and went 2 for 2 Friday. He's hitting .429 (9-for-21).

The 30-year-old Owings is a career .283 hitter with nine home runs in 205 at-bats in six big league seasons.

"He's had a great spring," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "I'm really impressed by him. He had a rough start with some injuries and a few things along the way but he's been fun to watch and it's fun seeing him play and to give him an opportunity.

"He thinks like a hitter as a pitcher and he's got tremendous power and he's aggressive. Those are the things you'd like to see for a young hitter."

Matt Carpenter had two more hits for the Cardinals to improve his batting average to .417 this spring. He started at third base Friday but will see plenty of time at second base in the regular season.

Edward Mujica and Jason Motte both had scoreless innings out of the Cardinals' bullpen. Both have struggled this spring, with Mujica posting a 15.00 ERA in six appearances coming in.

Wainwright allowed five runs and eight hits in three innings against the Nationals in his second start of the spring on March 2. But he lowered his ERA to 2.76 with another solid outing Friday.

And he appears ready for opening day, thanks in part to the fan he might never meet again.

"I don't know it was," Wainwright said. "There were a couple pictures that day. The first one I kind of glimpsed at and I didn't look the same and then the second one, I really studied it and I'm like alright, I'm not there right now. My arm feels very good. It feels solid. My delivery feels solid for the first time in a long, long time. I'm excited."

 
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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Players of the Game
St. Louis

M. Adams
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Washington

M. Owings
AB 2
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Stephen Lombardozzi, 2B3001000 .205
    Rick Hague, PR-2B1000001 .000
Kurt Suzuki, C3000011 .238
    Jhonatan Solano, C1000000 .235
Tyler Moore, RF3000010 .238
    Caleb Ramsey, LF1000000 .000
Chad Tracy, DH2000110 .172
   a- Carlos Maldonado, PH-DH0000100 .500
Chris Marrero, 1B4010001 .225
Carlos Rivero, 3B4000023 .194
Corey Brown, CF3010000 .271
Micah Owings, LF2020000 .429
    Steven Souza, PR-LF^RF1100000 .000
Zach Walters, SS3010002 .303
Totals3115125  
a-walked for Tracy in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Stephen Lombardozzi (8)
Team LOB - 5
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dan Haren 5655232 5.79
Yunesky Maya 1000010 2.25
Ryan Mattheus 1200020 2.25
Fernando Abad 1000010 2.70
HBP - G. Garcia (by Yunesky Maya), McElroy (by Fernando Abad)
WP - Dan Haren (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 43-30, Yunesky Maya 7-5, Ryan Mattheus 9-9, Fernando Abad 7-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 7-6, Yunesky Maya 2-0, Ryan Mattheus 1-0
Batters Faced - Dan Haren 24, Yunesky Maya 4, Ryan Mattheus 5, Fernando Abad 3
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jon Jay, CF2112010 .222
    Justin Christian, CF1000001 .258
Daniel Descalso, 2B3120010 .342
    Ronny Cedeno, 2B1010000 .269
Matt Carpenter, 3B2120100 .417
    Ryan Jackson, PR-3B1010000 .143
Ty Wigginton, DH4000017 .111
Matt Adams, 1B3113001 .343
    Patrick Wisdom, 1B1000002 .167
Shane Robinson, RF4000013 .457
Adron Chambers, LF3000010 .256
   a- C.J. McElroy, PH-LF0000000 .750
Pete Kozma, SS1100101 .359
    Greg Garcia, SS1000010 .143
Rob Johnson, C3000011 .174
    J.R. Towles, C1000000 .353
Totals3158527  
a-hit by pitch for Chambers in the 8th
Batting
2B - Matt Carpenter (6, Haren), Ryan Jackson (1, Mattheus)
HR - Jon Jay (1, Haren), Matt Adams (3, Haren)
SF - Jon Jay (1)
RBI - Jon Jay 2 (3), Matt Adams 3 (11)
SB - Daniel Descalso (2, 2nd base off Haren/Suzuki)
CS - C.J. McElroy (1, 2nd base by Abad/Solano)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Descalso-Adams, Descalso-Adams
E - Patrick Wisdom (1, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Adam Wainwright 6311120 2.76
Edward Mujica (H,2) 1100030 12.86
Randy Choate0100000 3.38
Fernando Salas (H,1) 1000000 1.80
Jason Motte 1000100 6.43
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 28-23, Edward Mujica 10-10, Randy Choate 1-1, Fernando Salas 3-3, Jason Motte 8-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 6-8, Fernando Salas 1-2, Jason Motte 3-1
Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 20, Edward Mujica 4, Randy Choate 1, Fernando Salas 3, Jason Motte 5
Game Information
Attendance - 7409
Game Time - 2:07
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - C.B. Bucknor, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - D.J. Reyburn