Jon Jay fouled off one full-count pitch from Washington Nationals' right-hander Dan Haren in the bottom of the first of this afternoon's Grapefruit League game in Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium. Jay then launched the next offering, sending a home run soaring out to right field high over the 350 ft sign on the light post behind the right field fence. 1-0 St. Louis early and 4-0 after the first as the Nats' 32-year-old starter gives up back-to-back singles by Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter after the solo blast and one out later surrenders a three-run home run by Cardinals' infielder Matt Adams. 22 pitches, four hits and four runs allowed by Haren in the bottom of the first.
Cards' starter Adam Wainwright issued a leadoff walk to Chad Tracy in the top of the second, but the Nats' veteran bench bat went out of the baseline to avoid getting tagged on a Chris Marrero groundout to second. Double play, and after a swinging K by Carlos Rivero, Wainwright had faced the minimum through two. Dan Haren retired the first two batters he faced in the Cards' second, but seemed (judging by body language on the mound) to think he was getting squeezed by home plate umpire CB Bucknor in the next at bat with Daniel Descaslo. Descalso singled to center on a 3-1 pitch and stole second with Matt Carpenter at the plate. Carpenter walked to put two on, but Haren got a force at second on a Ty Wiggington grounder and held the Cardinals in check in the second. An 18 pitch inning (according to Twitter) had Haren at 40 pitches after 2.0 IP.
Micah Owings, who keeps on hitting, singled for the first hit off Adam Wainwright with one down in the third, but he was doubled up on a Zach Walters line drive to second. 3.0 scoreless for the Cards' right-hander. Dan Haren threw a quick, 1-2-3 third vs St. Louis. Wainwright retired the side in order in the fourth. Haren walked Pete Kozma to start the Cardinals' fourth. "Pesky Pete" was running when Cards' catcher Rob Johnson grounded to third in the next at bat, and the speedy infielder took third as Nats' third baseman Carlos Rivero threw to first. A fly to right in the next at bat allowed Kozma to tag and score and it was 5-0 St. Louis after four innings in Jupiter, Florida.
Another inning, another 1-2-3 frame for Wainwright. 5-0 Cards after four and a half. Dan Haren gave up long fly to center off Matt Carpenter's bat that Corey Brown couldn't catch up to. After the leadoff double, however, Haren retired the next three Cardinals in order to strand the runner at second. 5-0 St. Louis after five. The Nationals finally threatened in the sixth, with Micah Owings singling and going first-to-third™ on a grounder through the right side by Zach Walters. Steve Lombardozzi grounded into a force at second in the next at bat, but the Cards couldn't turn another double play. Run scores, 5-1 Cardinals after five and a half.
• Dan Haren's line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 81 P, 50 S [pitch count acc to Twitter]
Nats' right-hander Yunesky Maya hit Cards' shortstop Greg Garcia, but stranded the only runner he allowed on in a scoreless bottom of the sixth. Cardinals' right-hander Edward Mujica struck out the side around a two-out infield single by Chris Marrero and preserved the 5-1 St. Louis' lead through six and a half in the Cardinals' Spring home. Ronny Cedeno and Cards' infielder Ryan Jackson connected for back-to-back hits off Ryan Mattheus in the bottom of the seventh, with Cedeno reaching on an infield single and moving to third on a double to right by Jackson. Mattheus threw a 1-2 fastball up high by Ty Wiggington for out no.1 and got the second out of the inning without a run scoring when young Cardinal Patrick Wisdom grounded to second with Cedeno breaking for home. Nats' prospect Rick Hague, a 2010 3rd Round pick, threw home and Kurt Suzuki ran Cedeno down and tagged him before firing to second to almost catch Wisdom there. 2 outs. And a swinging K by Shane Robinson gets Mattheus out of trouble. 5-1 Cards after 7.0.
St. Louis' lefty Randy Choate gave up a leadoff single by Corey Brown in the Nats' eighth and was quickly replaced on the mound by right-hander Fernando Salas, who retired the next three Nationals in order, stranding Brown at second. Still 5-1 Cards. Fernando Abad hit the first batter he faced in the Cardinals' eighth, C.J. McElroy, but then picked the runner off and retired the next two batters for a scoreless inning of work vs St. Louis. Cardinals' closer Jason Motte came on in the ninth. An error by St. Louis' third baseman Patrick Wisdom let 2011 11th Round pick Caleb Ramsey reach on an error on a grounder to first and Carlos Maldonado took a two-out walk, but a Chris Marrero groundout and a Carlos Rivero pop ended the game.
Cards win 5-1 final. Haren tells reporters it was a dead arm start... just guessing...