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Cardinals walk off on Nationals on home run by Paul DeJong in the 9th, 7-6 final

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After blowing a lead in the eighth, and rallying to tie it in the top of the the ninth, the Nationals lost a second straight game on a walk-off home run.

MLB: Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

A night after a devastating walk-off loss to the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field, Washington’s Nationals got back to work in the first of four with the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium, and managed to blow a 4-2 lead in the eighth, giving up four runs total in the home-half of the frame, with Matt Carpenter’s three-run home run off Sammy Solis putting the Cards up, 6-4...

But these Nationals don’t. quit. Bud Norris gave up RBI singles by Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters as the visiting team rallied to tie it at 6-6, before Cards’ shortstop Paul DeJong hit one out to left for a walk-off winner, 7-6 final.

Milone vs Cards: Tommy Milone got knocked around last time out, with the Atlanta Braves connecting for 10 hits, three home runs, and seven earned runs total in six innings of work on the mound in what ended up an 8-3 loss for the Nationals in Washington, D.C.

That start, his third as part of the Nats’ rotation, left the southpaw (1-1) in the majors this season, with a 5.50 ERA and a .296/.292/.521 line against in 18 innings pitched.

Taking on the St. Louis Cardinals tonight in Busch Stadium, Milone fell behind early with Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina reaching on bunts, one perfect, one swinging, before Carpenter scored one out after Molina’s excuse-me hit when Marcell Ozuna lined an RBI single to left field on a first-pitch fastball from the Nationals’ lefty, 1-0.

Harrison Bader and Kolten Wong connected for back-to-back hits in the bottom half of the fourth, after the Nationals took a 2-1 lead on a Bryce Harper homer.

Bader doubled, took a base on Wong’s single, and scored on a sac fly by Cards’ starter Miles Mikolas, whose fly to center field tied things up, 2-2.

Three singles in the Cardinals’ half of the fifth inning loaded the bases with one out and ended Milone’s night...

Tommy Milone’s Line: 4.1 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 77 P, 46 S, 3/8 GO/FO.

Mikolas vs the Nationals: Miles Mikolas made 37 appearances and 10 starts for the Padres and Rangers between 2012-14, then spent three seasons pitching for the Yomiuri Giants.

Over 62 starts in Nippon Professional Baseball, Mikolas went 31-13 with a 2.18 ERA, 69 walks (1.46 BB/9), and 378 Ks (8.01 K/9) in 424 23 IP before he signed a 2-year/$15.5M contract to return to Major League Baseball with St. Louis.

In 23 starts with the Cardinals before tonight, the 29-year-old right-hander was (12-3) with a 2.74 ERA, 25 walks (1.56 BB/9), 98 Ks (6.11 K/9), and a .239/.277/.328 line against in 144 13 IP.

Mikolas tossed a scoreless first inning, but the Nationals got on the board in the top of the second with a leadoff single to right field by Anthony Rendon to start the inning, and a line drive RBI double to left field off of the bat of the NL Player of the Week, Ryan Zimmerman, whose 10th two-base hit of the season tied things up at 1-1.

Bryce Harper’s 29th home run of 2018 gave the Nats a 2-1 lead. Harper battled Mikolas for 10 pitches, falling behind 0-2, getting to 3-2, and fouling off four pitches before he got a curve he crushed for a solo shot to center field, 2-1.

It was 2-2 in the top of the seventh when Mikolas walked Anthony Rendon in the first at bat of the frame and then gave up a two-run homer to left by Juan Soto on a first-pitch fastball, 4-2. Soto’s 15th of 2018.

Miles Mikolas’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 103 P, 64 S, 6/5 GO/FO.

Mikolas: 13-29-42-61-73-85-103

Harper, Harper, Harper: Bryce Harper started the day 24 for 71 (.338 AVG) with six doubles, five home runs, 12 walks, three steals, and 17 runs scored in 21 games played out of the All-Star Break. That stretch took him from .214/.365/.468 to .236/.380/.497 on the season, and he’d hit safely in nine of 12 games, with multi-hit games in seven of 12, and eight of his 16 hits extra base hits in that period (five doubles and three home runs).

Harper had hit safely in 10 of 13 after he homered to center in the top of the fourth inning, connecting for his 29th blast of the season.

Soto Oppo: Juan Soto went 2 for 11 overall in the three-game set in Wrigley Field, and 0 for 8 over the last two games, but he avoided going three games without a hit for the first time this season when he homered off Miles Mikolas in the top of the seventh, hitting a first-pitch fastball out the other way for another opposite field home run that put the Nationals on top, 4-2. No. 15 of 2018 for the 19-year-old slugger.

BULLPEN ACTION: Wander Suero took over on the mound with the bases loaded and one down in the home-half of the fifth inning, and Harrison Bader (1 for 2) at the plate, and he got a grounder back to the mound to start an inning-ending 1-2-3 DP. Still 2-2.

Suero came back out for the sixth inning and worked around a leadoff walk in a scoreless, 12-pitch frame, getting an inning-ending double play on a Matt Carpenter liner to third with Kolten Wong (who’d walked) running on the pitch.

Jose Martinez’s one-out single in the Cardinals’ seventh ended Suero’s night.

Justin Miller came on in relief, and took a grounder off the cleat that bounced over to third allowing Anthony Rendon to get a force at second for the out No. 2. Paul DeJong sent a fly to deep center for out No. 3.

Tyler Webb gave up a leadoff walk to Wilmer Difo, and a one-out single by Trea Turner, but Bryce Harper hit a sharp grounder to short and Paul DeJong fielded it and started a 6-3 DP to end the threat and keep it a 4-2 game in the Nats’ favor.

Miller came back out to start the eighth and gave up a leadoff home run to left field by Jedd Gyorko, 4-3.

Kolten Wong singled to center in the next at bat, prompting a pitching change as the Nats went to lefty Sammy Solis against pinch hitter Greg Garcia. Cardinals’ skipper Mike Shildt burned Garcia to get a right-hander up, and pinch hitter Patrick Wisdom lined a single to right field to move Wong into scoring position with Matt Carpenter up next.

A wild pitch to Carpenter moved both runners into scoring position, and Carpenter hit a 1-1 sinker out to center to put the Cardinals up, 6-4.

Bud Norris came on for the save opportunity and gave up a leadoff single to right field by Anthony Rendon, who took second on a wild pitch with Juan Soto at the plate.

Soto got to 3-2 and walked to put two on in front of Matt Adams, who popped out to short right for out No. 1. Daniel Murphy stepped in next and lined an RBI single to center, 6-5.

Matt Wieters followed with an RBI single to right that drove Soto in and tied it up at 6-6.

Dakota Hudson took over for the Cards and got the final two outs of the frame, stranding the potential tying run at third. Still 6-6.

Koda Glover got the bottom of the ninth and gave up a walk-off home run by Paul DeJong on a 3-1 fastball.

Ballgame.

Final Score: 7-6 Cardinals

Nationals now 60-59