The St Louis Cardinals smashed the Washington Nationals 12-4 on Monday in game two of their NL Division Series matchup, evening the series at one game apiece.
In the first two innings, St Louis starter Jaime Garcia did his first impersonation of Gio Gonzalez on Sunday, walking three batters and not looking like himself at all. Of course, just like the Cardinals yesterday, the Nationals only got one run despite bringing a total of 11 men to the plate in the first two innings. Garcia would be pulled after those first two innings, and would later get an MRI after experiencing shoulder discomfort.
After escaping the second down by just one run, the Cardinals offense exploded all over Jordan Zimmermann. In the second inning, they pounded out four straight hits to lead off the inning, and five overall in the frame, en route to a four run inning. In the third, Allen Craig homered to make it 5-1, which would lead to Zimmermann getting pulled after the inning. Craig Stammen ran into difficulties of his own in the fourth, allowing a solo homer to Daniel Descalso and allowing another run after a Danny Espinosa error allowed Pete Kozma to score.
With the game 7-1, the Nationals hit back to back solo homers in the fifth off of Lance Lynn, who threw three innings of relief after Garcia's exit. But that four run deficit would be the closest they'd get over the rest of the game. Jon Jay made a tremendous catch in the sixth to snuff out a potential rally before it even began, and a Carlos Beltran homer in the bottom half of the inning made it an 8-3 game. Ryan Zimmerman cut the lead back to four after a sac fly, In the eighth, the Cardinals blew the game open. Jay tripled in Pete Kozma to make it 9-4, and Beltran launched his second homer of the game to turn it into an 11-4 affair. Just for good measure, Allen Craig doubled and Matt Holliday scored on an error by Michael Morse to give the Cardinals a dozen runs for the day.
The Natoinals couldn't capitalize at all during this game. They had three extra base hits, and two of them were the back to back solo homers. The team stranded nine, and even made a pair of errors that allowed two runs to score (though that's small potatoes at the end of the day). Their pitching struggled, walking five and only striking out six. The Cardinals just performed better overall, even with the disappointing start from Garcia kicking off the game for the team. St Louis' last four relievers also got the job done for the team, allowing just one run in four innings and not walking a batter. That's how you do it.
Game three will be on Wednesday in Washington, seeing their first playoff baseball in over 80 years. The game will start at 1:07 PM, and Edwin Jackson, an important cog in last year's Cardinals World Championship team, will get the start against long-time Cardinal starter Chris Carpenter.
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