The D.C. faithful were witnesses to the Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy show Tuesday evening as the duo combined to reach base eight times in the Washington Nationals 8-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Gio Gonzalez threw seven innings of two-run ball, going 1-2-3 in each of his final three innings on the mound to earn his first victory of the season.
Washington’s power was on full display as the Nationals left the yard three times and smacked 11 hits — giving them 30 hits through the first two games of the series with St. Louis.
Blake Treinen worked a scoreless ninth but the lead was too large for him to earn the save.
Nationals now 5-3.
Here’s how it happened:
• Dexter Fowler got things started in a hurry with a double over the head of Jayson Werth on the third pitch of the game. He moved to third when Ryan Zimmerman made an over-the-shoulder catch on an Aledmys Dias pop-up put dropped the ball on the transfer. Yadier Molina put the Cardinals ahead 1-0 with sacrifice fly in the next at-bat.
• St. Louis’ starter Lance Lynn failed to throw a first-pitch strike to the first seven hitters he faced, but the Nats were unable to push any runs across until the third inning.
Gio Gonzalez drew a one-out walk on four pitches and made it to second when Díaz made a fielding error on a groundball off the bat of Adam Eaton. Bryce Harper drew a walk to load the bases for Daniel Murphy, who did not disappoint.
Murphy took two pitches before pulling an RBI single that brought both Gonzalez and Eaton around to score. 2-1 Nationals.
• The Cardinals came right back in the top of the fourth. Randal Grichuk sent the first pitch he saw into the right field seats for his second home run of the year, evening the score at two runs apiece
• In the bottom half of the inning, the Nats launched a few long balls of their own.
Werth led off with a solo shot into the visitor’s bullpen in left field and Matt Wieters smacked his first career homer in a Nationals uniform with a ball that barely made it over the right field wall. 4-2 Nationals.
• Harper drew a walk to begin the bottom of the fifth, tying a career high by reach base in his ninth straight plate appearance. He would come around to score when Murphy hit his second home run of the year right behind him to make is a 6-2 ballgame. Lynn would not return to pitch the sixth inning.
• Lance Lynn’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R (4 ER), 4 BB, 4 Ks, 101 P, 57 S, 4/7 GO/FO
• Gonzalez struggled early in this game, allowing a baserunner to reach in each of the first four innings. He was able to settle in after that, however, setting down the final 11 hitters he faced.
• Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 Ks, 103 P, 67 S, 5/10 GO/FO
• The Nats threatened to score again in the sixth against reliever Miguel Socolovich, but a baserunning miscue by Wieters ultimately cost them the opportunity. Wieters doubled to lead off the frame, but got caught in a run down when Gonzalez attempted to bunt him over to third.
Adam Eaton reached on a fielder’s choice, then made it to third on a bloop single to center field by Wilmer Difo. Harper would then snap his on-base streak, grounding into a fielder’s choice at shortstop to end the inning
• Undaunted by the scoreless inning, Washington came back swinging in the seventh. Murphy hit a leadoff double (the fourth straight inning their leadoff man reached base) then scored when Díaz made his second error of the game — this time of the throwing variety.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a tough ground ball to the left side of the infield that Díaz slid to grab, but his throw from his knees what out of reach for first baseman Jose Martinez and the ball rolled out of play. 7-2 Nationals.
• Manager Dusty Baker gave the ball to Joe Blanton for the bottom of the eighth. He promptly allowed Díaz to cork a solo shot to bring the Cardinals within four.
• The Nationals countered in the bottom of the eighth with the heart of their lineup coming through with two outs. After Eaton and Difo were each quickly retired by Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, Harper hit a double down the left field line and scored on Murphy’s fourth hit of the night.
• Despite leading by five, Baker opted to send closer Blake Treinen out for the top of the ninth. He allowed pinch-hitting Matt Carpenter to reach on a leadoff walk, but the baserunner was quickly erased when Grichuk was forced into a double play
• Martinez grounded out to end the game and give the Nats a series win.
Nationals win, 8-3 final.
Washington now 5-3.