Washington's sinker-balling right-hander Doug Fister left an 88 mph 2-2 fastball (Matt Williams said changeup) up in the zone and out over the plate for St. Louis Cardinals' third baseman Matt Carpenter, and the hot-hitting lefty put it up in the second deck, five rows back above the Nationals' bullpen in right field.
Carpenter's leadoff home run in the top of the first put the Cards up 1-0 real early.
Cardinals' second baseman Kolten Wong got hold of a 1-2 pitch in the second and hit a two-out, two-run home run over the high outfield wall in right to make it 3-0.
St. Louis added to their lead in the third with Jason Heyward singling and scoring on a Matt Adams' double. 4-0.
Adams scored on a two-out error by Ryan Zimmerman that put the Nationals in a 5-0 hole early in the second game of three with the Cardinals in D.C.
"The homer to Carpenter was a changeup and just stayed up," Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters as he discussed Fister's outing after the Nationals rallied but lost, 7-5.
"And then Wong's homer was up in the zone too."
The Nats' hitters picked Fister up and he rallied as well, hanging around for six innings and 104 pitches after he got off to the rough start.
"Settled in," Williams said. "I'm proud of the guys for fighting. It's one of those days where you could just easily fold the tent and say, 'It's not our day today,' but they came back and made a game of it. We had a chance."
Fister told reporters he missed his spots, but he was trying to elevate the pitches to both Carpenter and Wong.
"The home runs, I didn't get them in," he explained. "I wanted them elevated, but I wanted them in, off the plate, and I didn't get them there. And they obviously made me pay for it. They're good hitters over there."
The Nats' 31-year-old righty admitted, when asked, that though he was trying to elevate the pitches, there is less margin for error when he pitches up in the zone.
"If you throw a ball down but middle, you can still get a ground ball out of it," he said. "If it's up there's a lot more room for their success than mine. I walked a fine line there and didn't walk the line. So, I just got beat."
Fister was asked about the fact that he was throwing predominantly (as in only, really) fastballs early in the outing before he started to mix it up later on?
"A lot of times I'm trying to attack with my fastball all the way through the order at least once and get those early contacts," Fister said. "Unfortunately, those early contacts were a little stronger than I wanted to, but at that point it was time to make the adjustment. I just made it too late."
When he did make the adjustments, he did finally settle in as Williams said.
"Really just focused on working with my sinker," Fister explained. "Started mixing in other pitches and just trying to keep things off-balance and go back to letting the defense work. The guys made plays for me tonight, I just did a poor job of that early on."
• We talked about Doug Fister's outing, Bryce Harper's walks and TOOTBLAN and more on the latest edition of Nats Nightly. [ed. note - "I included Tuesday night's show below as well since it wasn't posted anywhere on FBB."]
Tuesday's show with FBB's Doghouse and Tom Bridge from the District Sports Page: