Nationals' lineup for first of four with St. Louis Cardinals

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

The Washington Nationals dropped all six of their games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013. The Nats haven't beat the Cards since Game 4 of the NLDS in 2012. Tonight in D.C. the Nationals and Cardinals start a four-game set in Nationals Park.

The Washington Nationals haven't beaten the St. Louis Cardinals in a regular season game since September 12, 2012 when they took the second game of a three-game set in Busch Stadium.

The last time they beat the Cards in the nation's capital in a regular season matchup was back on September 2, 2012.

"Tonight was good for us against a really tough pitcher, so, they're happy about that, now we've got more work to do." - Matt Williams after Nats won finale in Miami

Since winning Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS in Nats Park, the Nationals have played the Cardinals seven times overall and dropped all seven, getting beaten in Game 5 of the Division series in 2012 and each of the six games the two teams played in 2013.

The Cardinals outscored the Nationals 19-8 overall in their six head-to-head meetings last season, winning all three games in Washington by two runs or less (3-2; 2-0; 4-2) and taking 4-3, 2-0 and 4-1 decisions in the three games played in St. Louis.

The two teams start a four-game set in the nation's capital tonight with Taylor Jordan on the mound for the Nationals against veteran Cardinals' right-hander Adam Wainwright.

Jordan has never faced St. Louis.

Wainwright was (2-0) against Washington last season, posting a 1.76 ERA with one walk (0.59 BB/9) and 14 Ks (8.22 K/9) in 15 1/3 IP against the Nationals, who put up a .214/.228/.286 line against the righty.

In his nine-year major league career, the 32-year-old, 6'7'' starter is (6-3) against the Nats in 12 games and 10 starts, with a 3.17 ERA, 17 walks (2.34 BB/9) and 64 Ks (8.82 K/9) in 65 1/3 IP over which Nationals' hitters have a combined .258/.314/.363 line.

In Nationals Park, the Atlanta Braves' 1st Round pick (2000) acquired by the Cardinals in a December 2003 trade, is just (2-2) in four starts with a 4.50 ERA in 22 IP over which he's walked eight (3.27 BB/9) and struck out 26 (10.64 K/9) with opposing hitters posting a .304/.360/.413 line against him in the Nats' home park.

• Here's the Nationals' lineup that will face Wainwright tonight in the nation's capital:

Taylor Jordan is facing a team other than the Atlanta Braves for the first time this season. Last time out in Atlanta, the 25-year-old right-hander gave up 10 hits and five runs in five innings, over which he threw 102 pitches.

"It happens, they're a good fastball hitting club, and if you don't put the ball where you want to then that can happen..." - Matt Williams on Taylor Jordan vs Braves

The Nats' ground ball machine left the ball up against the Braves.

"Just balls left out over," Nationals' Manager Matt Williams said after the 6-3 loss.

"They hit some balls to the alley and to the wall and it happens, they're a good fastball hitting club, and if you don't put the ball where you want to then that can happen."

Jordan makes his fifth major league start in Nationals Park tonight. Though he's just (1-1) with a 3.52 ERA in those outings, the Nationals are 4-1 when he starts in D.C.

The Nationals took two of three from Miami after dropping two of three in Atlanta. They return to the nation's capital with a 9-6 record on the season. As soon as the Nationals beat the Marlins last night, Williams was thinking ahead to the series with the Cards that starts tonight.

"Every game is important for us," he said, "so, tomorrow is even more. Tonight was good for us against a really tough pitcher so, they're happy about that, now we've got more work to do."

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