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Nationals Drop 4-3 Decision To Cardinals: Carlos Beltran's 2-Run HR Wins It For Cards

Tanner Roark hadn't given up a home run in 46+ innings of work at the major league level this year before St. Louis Cardinals' right fielder Carlos Beltran's two-run blast in the fifth and the first HR he surrendered ended up driving in the winning run in the Washington Nationals' 4-3 loss...

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Third baseman David Freese dove for a one-hope liner off Denard Span's bat, but the Washington Nationals' leadoff man got it through the infield for a single to left after working the count full in the first at bat of the game against right-handed starter Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals tonight in Busch Stadium. One out later, Span scored on an absolute bomb of a two-run home run to left by Jayson Werth that bounced off an MLB Network sign at the back of the first section of stands in left field. 20+ rows back, an estimated 439 ft. HR no.24 of 2013 for Werth. 2-0 Nationals early in the series opener.

Tanner Roark gave up a leadoff walk to Matt Carpenter and back-to-back two-out singles by Matt Adams and Yadier Molina in the bottom of the first inning, as the Cards cut the Nats' lead in half on Molina's RBI hit. 2-1 Nationals after one.

Adam Wainwright retired the Nationals in order in a 16-pitch top of the second. Tanner Roark's 13-pitch second inning ended when he struck Wainwright out with an 0-2 slider on his 37th pitch of the game. Wainwright got a grounder to short from Roark for the first out of a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 third that had him up to 50 after three with eight straight outs. Carlos Beltran took an 0-1 curve back up the middle for a two-out single in the Cardinals' third, but Matt Adams lined out to Bryce Harper in deep left on Roark's 16th pitch of the frame. 53 total after three. 2-1 Nationals.

Bryce Harper took a wide turn around short, but slid to a stop as Shane Robinson collected his one-out opposite field single to left that stopped Wainwright's streak of retired batters at nine. Ian Desmond's line drive to left in the next at bat allowed Harper to go from first-to-third™ and put runners on the corners, but Adam LaRoche's grounder to second allowed Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso and Matt Adams to turn an inning-ending 4-6-3. Wainwright's 19-pitch fourth had him up to 69.

David Freese, Descalso and Shane Robinson hit back-to-back-to-back singles with one down in the bottom of the inning, with Robinson's a bloop single to right that brought Freese in from second to tie the game up at 2-2. Adam Wainwright bunted both runners over/gave up an out and Matt Carpenter K'd looking to end a 21-pitch fourth that had Tanner Roark up to 74 pitches.

Wilson Ramos lined a single to right to start the fifth. One out later, Tanner Roark bunted his catcher over/gave up an out, but Denard Span's groundout to first stranded the Nats' backstop and left the Nats 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position in St. Louis. Adam Wainwright's 17-pitch fifth had him up to 83 total. Jon Jay singled to left to start the Cards' fifth inning, and Carlos Beltran crushed a 3-1 fastball from Roark in the next at bat, sending a two-run blast out to right for the first home run surrendered by the Nationals' starter in 46 2/3 IP so far since his MLB debut on August 7th. 23-pitch inning for Roark, 97 total on the night.

4-2 Cardinals after five on Beltran's 24th.

Given a lead to work with, Adam Wainwright went out and threw a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the sixth that had him up to 98 pitches. Fernando Abad replaced Tanner Roark in the bottom of the sixth inning and gave up back-to-back, two-out singles by Wainwright and Matt Carpenter, but Jon Jay's line drive to center found its way into Denard Span's glove.

Tanner Roark's Line: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 67 S, 6/0 GO/FO.

Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos hit hard line drives to right around an Adam LaRoche K (0 for 7, 5 Ks vs Adam Wainwright this year) but both flies were caught by Carlos Beltran. A nine-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh for Wainwright had him up to 107 pitches total. Fernando Abad's second scoreless inning of work kept it close through seven in St. Louis. Still 4-2 Cardinals.

Anthony Rendon singled to center to start the eighth with the Nats' first hit since Wilson Ramos singled to start the fifth. Steve Lombardozzi bunted for a hit that knocked Wainwright out. Cards' lefty Randy Choate came on in relief against Denard Span, whose sac bunt moved both runners up/gave up an out. Ryan Zimmerman's groundout to third brought Rendon in to make it 4-3, but Jayson Werth's ended the top of the eighth with the Nationals down by one. 0 for 4 with RISP. Ryan Mattheus threw a scoreless bottom of the eighth to keep it close.

Cards' lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist got Bryce Harper to ground out to second to start the ninth. Trevor Rosenthal came on to get the final two outs. Ian Desmond K'd swinging through an 0-2 fastball.

Nationals now 84-73