The Washington Nationals were rolling coming into the three-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals, having taken two of three from the San Diego Padres and three of four from the San Francisco Giants in the first seven games of their 10-game, three-city road trip.
In Busch Stadium, however, where they were 5-19 since it opened in 2006 before this weekend, the Nats dropped three straight to a Cardinals team that has dominated the rivalry over the last two seasons.
Friday night the Nationals dropped a 1-0 decision in which Matt Adams' solo home run off Jordan Zimmermann provided the margin of victory.
Saturday it was tied at 1-1 until Adams hit another solo blast off Stephen Strasburg in the seventh inning of what ended up a 4-1 loss.
Adams homered again in the finale of the three-game set on Sunday, taking Doug Fister deep for a two-run home run, but it was Matt Holliday's third inning bomb that ended up providing the winning run in the Cards' 5-2 win.
After scoring 33 runs in the first seven games of the trip, the Nationals managed just three runs in the three losses to the Cardinals.
"It's the ebbs and flows of the game," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said. "The first game we were really in, they scored one, we didn't score any. And that can make a difference in a series too, but it's just ebbs and flows."
"Offense, the first two stops on the road trip were pretty good," he continued. "But this stop wasn't so good. But we'll regroup and get ready to go."
Zimmermann gave up just one run on three hits in seven innings on Friday, but Lance Lynn threw eight scoreless. Strasburg allowed three runs on seven hits in 6 ⅔ in Saturday's game, but Shelby Miller gave up just one run on four hits. Doug Fister wasn't quite as sharp this afternoon as he has been in his last few starts, but even he only allowed seven hits and four runs, three of them on the home runs he gave up, while Jaime Garcia limited the Nationals to one run on five hits.
"I just think that he got a couple of balls up in the zone," Williams said when asked about Fister's work on the mound.
"I thought he pitched well. The two-run home run and the solo homer [were] enough for them today, but he battled through it and continued to go out there and give us a chance. We had some chances, we had the bases loaded three times and just didn't get it done today."
The loss left the Nationals 5-22 in Busch Stadium since it opened. Williams has only been around for two series between the teams, in which the Nats are 2-5, so he said he wasn't sure what it was about St. Louis that has given Washington so much trouble.
"I don't have that history," he said, "but they pitched well. In this three-game series anyway they pitched well. We split with them at home and they got us here, but that's the secret to their team. They do well with guys in scoring position and they've got great starters and a back of a bullpen that can close games out. That's a pretty good formula for success. We had some chances though. We have to have a very short memory now, get on the plane, have the off day, go get the Astros who are playing well right now too. So, it doesn't get any easier. Then we have the Braves coming in, so we'll have to regroup and play well."