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Washington Nationals Swept By Cardinals In St. Louis. Trade Ronnie Belliard. Recall Justin Maxwell.

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• It's bad enough when Albert Pujols beats you with a walk-off HR, like he did Friday night in the first of three for DC in St. Louis, but when he does it with a dribbler on the infield grass or hits a single up the middle to score the winning run on a full-count fastball from Nationals' starter Garrett Mock that should have been unreachable outside, it's even tougher to take, but at least no one had to see Pujols pose and flip his bat in the air when he helped the Cardinals win the series finale on Sunday. Cards' starter Adam Wainwright holds the Nationals to just 3 hits and 1 ER over 6.0 IP in which he walks 3, K's 7 and throws 109 pitches, 69 for strikes. The one run off Wainwright comes in the sixth when the 6'7'' right-hander issues back-to-back two-out walks and an RBI single that scores Adam Dunn from second after he'd taken just the 3rd walk Wainwright had allowed in 6 August starts.  

• Garrett Mock throws 99 pitches over 6.0 innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 ER to the Cardinals, who score when Albert Pujols hits a dribbler to third even Ryan Zimmerman can't handle, moving Colby Rasmus first to third so that Rick Ankiel can bring him home with an RBI single, and again in the sixth, when Pujols scores Rasmus from second with an RBI single on a 3-2 pitch the Nationals Manager and catcher wanted further outside. The Nationals' best chance to tie the game comes in the eighth when they load the bases with an Adam Dunn walk, Josh Willingham double and Elijah Dukes' second free pass of the game, but Peter Orr flies out to center to let St. Louis out of the inning with the 2-1 lead in tact. 

Cardinals win, 2-1 final. 

Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...

Check Out The SB Nation's St. Louis Cardinals Blog: Viva El Birdos Open Thread.

"Game 131: Losing by one run still stinks" - Doghouse.

BACKPAGE:

• E: 116

• Nationals Trade Ronnie Belliard

• Nationals Recall Justin Maxwell

• Washington Times' Mark Zuckerman On Strasburg's First Workout.

For The Completists, Full Game Report After The JUMP...

Nationals now 46-85. (Countdown To 100 Losses Stands At...15)

BACKPAGE:

• E: 116 - 

Two down in the Cards' seventh, Brendan Ryan grounds to short, Cristian Guzman moves slowly toward second and bends down for it, but a bad hop beats him and he drops what should have been the third out for his 18th error and the Nationals' 116th of 2009. OUTCOME: Garrett Mock pops Adam Wainwright up to end the frame. No damage done, except to those of us whose defensive sensibilities have been offended all year.

• Nationals Trade Ronnie Belliard

According to DC GM Mike Rizzo, who's quoted in Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's Nationals Journal post entitled, "Nats Trade Belliard to Dodgers", the Nationals have scouted right-hander Luis Garcia several times before today's trade that sent Ronnie Belliard to LA in exchange for the 22-year-old reliever. The Nationals will also be receiving a PTBNL that Mr. Rizzo says will be another pitcher. Here's how he describes the one pitcher already included in the deal to Mr. Harlan:

"(Garcia's) up to 94 mph with a fastball and he's got a slider and he's got really good command at a really young age. So we're happy with the results that he's had in the past. His performance has been good, and his upside is really good. We feel excited about getting him as part of the deal."

Belliard tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an article entitled, "Veteran Belliard traded to Dodgers" that he was caught off guard by the trade, explaining "'This late in the year, this wasn't in my mind," but Belliard also seems to understand the opportunity he's been given, telling Mr. Ladson:

"'I'm happy because I'm going to L.A. and that team is in first place," Belliard said. 'But I'm sad because I am going to leave a lot of friends. I've been here for the last three years and I made a lot of friends."

Belliard will now fly to Los Angeles where he'll join the NL West-leading Dodgers, while the Nationals have to fly out to San Diego for tomorrow night's 10:05 pm EST start in SAFECO...

• Nationals Recall Justin Maxwell

Justin Maxwell was just 3 for 24 in the 13 games he's played with the Nationals this season, and he's hit 10 doubles, 5 triples and collected 13 RBI's with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs before being called up on Sunday to replace Ronnie Belliard on the Nationals' roster. After hitting just .202 in the month of July, Maxwell's put together his best month of the year in August, posting a .273 AVG with 27 hits in 99 at bats, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 1 HR, 10 RBI's and 13 stolen bases in 30 games played. Maxwell, now 25, is just a .200 hitter so far in sporadic appearances at the major league level, and his .286 OBP so far in 28 games and 50 at bats, is in need of improvement. 

LINK:

• Washington Times - Chatter - "Strasburg's first day" - Mark Zuckerman

"'I thought I'd get a little peace out here on the field, but you guys follow me everywhere,' he(Strasburg) said later inside the lobby of the Nationals' minor-league complex, his head down, not even wanting to look any of us in the eyes. 'I guess it just goes with the territory. It's something I'm going to have to learn to deal with. But it's good to be out here and throwing a baseball again.'"

GAME REPORT:

Washington Nationals At St. Louis Cardinals. Game 131 Of 162. 

Willie Harris lines the first pitch from Adam Wainwright to center field where Colby Rasmus catches the first out of the Sunday finale. Cristian Guzman grounds to Skip Schumaker at second. Ryan Zimmerman grounds a full-count fastball to short and the throw from Brendan Ryan ends the top of the first...Garrett Mock gets a swinging K from Skip Schumaker with a brutal curve that breaks across the plate. Colby Rasmus flies out to Elijah Dukes in right. Albert Pujols pops out to the infield to complete one frame.

Adam Dunn grounds into the shift for the first out of the second. Josh Willingham gets called out on a two-strike fastball inside. Elijah Dukes takes one in the numbers for the Nationals’ first baserunner. Pete Orr sends a one-hopper to second to end the top of the frame...Matt Holliday sends an easy Sunday fly to Dukes in right. Rick Ankiel draws a one-out walk from Garrett Mock. Khalil Greene gets a two-strike curve and K’s chasing. Yadier Molina grounds out to short, Guzman takes the force at second.

Josh Bard lines the first pitch to right for a leadoff single in the third. Garrett Mock squares to bunt with two strikes, but swings away and K’s. Willie Harris K’s swinging. Cristian Guzman’s battling Wainwright with the count full, but he ends up grounding out to short...Brendan Ryan flies out to the right-center gap, but Elijah Dukes gets there to catch the first out of the Cards’ third. Garrett Mock abuses Adam Wainwright with benders. Skip Schumaker grounds out to second to end a quick third.

Ryan Zimmerman grounds out to second to start the fourth. Adam Dunn walks with one down in front of Josh Willingham. The Hammer stares a two-strike curve all the way in for a called strike three. Elijah Dukes flies out to left to end the Nationals’ fourth...Garrett Mock gives up a single to center to Colby Rasmus for the Cards’ first hit. Albert Pujols sends a dribbler to third, that Zimmerman fields but holds on to, first and third, no outs. Matt Holliday takes a two-strike curve inside for a called strike three. Rick Ankiel flies to left on a 3-0 pitch, good enough to score Rasmus from third. 1-0 Cardinals. Khalil Greene grounds out a foot in front of home. Bard throws to first to end the fourth.

Pete Orr reaches on a bunt toward third. Josh Bard grounds into a force at second. Garrett Mock fouls off a 1-2 pitch trying to bunt and gets called out. Willie Harris flies out to left to end the Nationals’ fifth...Yadier Molina grounds out to second. Brendan Ryan grounds to third for Zimmerman to handle. Adam Wainwright grounds out to short. 

Cristian Guzman takes a two-strike fastball outside for a called strike three. Ryan Zimmerman takes strike two and three low and outside, but punched out by the ump. Adam Dunn walks with two down. Josh WIllingham takes four too. Elijah Dukes waits on a curve and lines it to left center to score Adam Dunn and tie it at 1-1. Pete Orr grounds out to first to end the rally...Skip Schumaker flies out to Willie Harris in center. Colby Rasmus laces a line drive single to right. Albert Pujols up, Mock bounces one off the catcher, Rasmus takes second. Mock tries to get Pujols to chase a pitch outside, but he gets too much plate and Pujols singles to center, Rasmus scores, 2-1 Cards. Pujols steals second, and takes third when the throw sails into center. Matt Holliday grounds weakly to third. Pujols stays put. Rick Ankiel up with two down. Mock gets Ankiel swinging. 2-1 St. Louis. 

Kyle McLellan gets the first out of the seventh with one pitch to Josh Bard, who grounds out to second. Mike Morse gets a pinch hit appearance. Ground ball to second, Schumaker throws to first, two down. Willie Harris gets called out on strikes to end the Nationals’ seventh...Tyler Clippard vs Khalil Greene to start the Cards’ seventh. Khalil Greene grounds back to the mound. Yadier Molina flies out to right. Brendan Ryan grounds to short and Cristian Guzman muffs it. Mock gets the opposing pitcher to fly out to end it. 

Cristian Guzman flies out to start the eighth. Ryan Zimmerman K’s swinging and the Cards will bring a new pitcher on to face Adam Dunn. Trever Miller vs Dunn. Lefty vs Lefty. Adam Dunn walks with two down. Ryan Franklin comes on to face Josh Willingham. The Hammer doubles off the left field wall. Dunn takes third. Elijah Dukes takes a swing at a 3-0 pitch and fouls it off, but walks on the 3-1 offering. Pete Orr flies out to center to end the threat...Sean Burnett takes the mound in the eighth. Julio Lugo gets hit and takes first. Ryan Ludwick grounds to short, Guzman to Ronnie Belliard at second to Dunn, double play. Albert Pujols flies out to right.

Josh Bard pops out foul of third for the first out of the ninth. Ronnie Belliard K’s chasing junk. Willie Harris flies out to Ankiel in right to end the game. Cardinals sweep the Nationals. 2-1 final. 

Nationals now 46-85.