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Washington Nationals drop 11-8 decision to St. Louis Cardinals on weird night in D.C.

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Erick Fedde struggled some and did some good things in his return to the rotation, and the Cardinals evened things up to set up a rubber match tomorrow night in Nationals Park.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Erick Fedde retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced, after he gave up four runs in a 41-pitch second. Trea Turner got tagged out taking second base on a walk, because that is, we now know, something that can actually happen. Austen Williams, who hadn’t given up a long ball in 70 IP between the minors and majors this season, gave up three in a span of four batters.

It was a long night at the ballpark, as the St. Louis Cardinals evened things up in their three-game set with the Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital, 11-8 final.

Fedde vs the Cards: Two months and three rehab starts after his last major league outing, Erick Fedde returned to Washington’s rotation, starting against St. Louis in the Cardinals’ second game of three in D.C. this week.

Fedde struck two out in a scoreless, 14-pitch first, but fell behind Marcell Ouzna in the first at bat of the second, and gave up a solo home run to left on a 3-1 slider up in the zone that Ozuna crushed, 1-0.

Two singles and a one-out walk loaded the bases later in the Cards’ second, and single to right field by Matt Carpenter cleared them, 4-0. Carpenter lined a 3-2 sinker to right that Adam Eaton mishandled, allowing a third run to come around.

Fedde ended up throwing 41 total in the second inning, leaving him at 55 pitches overall after two, but the 25-year-old righty followed that up with a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 third, and tossed a scoreless 18-pitch fourth and a 10-pitch fifth before he was done, having set down 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.

Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 91 P, 54 S, 5/3 GO/FO.

Gant vs the Nats: John Gant held the Nationals to a run on four hits in 5 13 IP when he faced Washington in Busch Stadium back on August 14th, striking out six of the 20 batters he saw in what ended up a 5-4 win for the Cardinals.

In three starts that followed before he faced the Nats again tonight, St. Louis’s 26-year-old right-hander put up a 1.59 ERA with 10 walks, 13 Ks, and a 197/.310/.279 line against in 17 IP.

Facing the Nationals for the second time, the right-hander tossed three scoreless to start, on 47 pitches, as the Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Ryan Zimmerman reached on an error to start the fifth inning and Pedro Severino singled one out later to put two on in front of pinch hitter Andrew Stevenson, who walked to load the bases and end Gant’s night...

John Gant’s Line: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 Ks, 87 P, 52 S, 4/1 GO/FO.

Just Weird Review Section: Trea Turner walked with one out in the first, and he was running as Bryce Harper walked in the next at bat. Turner slid in safely around a tag after Harper too took ball four, but the Nationals’ speedy infielder slid by second base and came off the bag, so in spite of the fact that Harper had walked, Turner was called out since he’d effectively passed the second base bag while the ball was still in play. We think? The Cards’ challenged the play, and after the review, Turner was called out. That’s very 2018 Nationals, right?

We call him #JualkSoto:

BULLPEN ACTION: Tyler Webb took over on the mound for John Gant with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth and caught Adam Eaton looking with an 0-2 curve for out No. 2, but he walked Trea Turner in the next at bat to force in the Nats’ first run of the game, 4-1 Cards.

Bryce Harper stepped in next and hit a 90 mph 2-1 fastball from Webb out to left field and it bounced on the track and hit the glass “wall” above the outfield wall to drive in two runs, 4-3. An intentional walk to Anthony Rendon loaded them back up, and a Juan Soto walk tied it up at 4-4.

Tyson Ross came on at that point and struck Ryan Zimmerman out to end the threat.

Austen Williams took over for the Nationals in the top of the sixth, and in his 71st inning on the mound this season, between Double-A, Triple-A, and the Majors, the right-hander gave up his first home run on a 2-0 fastball to Marcell Ozuna, who hit a solo shot out to right to make it 5-4 Cards.

And the second home run Williams has allowed in 2018 came in the next at bat, when Paul DeJong hit an 0-2 fastball out to right, 6-4 Cardinals.

And the third home run Williams has allowed in 2018 came one out later, on a 96 mph 0-1 fastball to Patrick Wisdom that sailed out to left, 7-4 Cards.

Williams left the game (and Davey Martinez heard some boos when he came out to get him) after a single, intentional walk, and unintentional walk loaded the bases with two out.

Jimmy Cordero got the final out of the Cardinals’ sixth.

Wilmer Difo homered to start the Nationals’ half of the sixth inning, hitting a 2-1 fastball from Tyson Ross out to right to make it a two-run game, 7-5 Cards.

Koda Glover got the seventh for the Nationals, and retired the side in a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a two-run game.

Dakota Hudson worked around a leadoff walk for a scoreless seventh inning.

Matt Grace retired the Cardinals in order in a 16-pitch top of the eighth, keeping it 7-5.

Dominic Leone worked around a Wilmer Difo singled in a scoreless eighth.

Sammy Solis walked Matt Carpenter and Yairo Munez reached on a bunt when it was fielded by Ryan Zimmerman, who turned and found no one at first to throw to, and a two-out hit-by-pitch on Paul DeJong loaded the bases in front of Yadier Molina, who hit an 0-2 sinker out to left for a grand. slam. 11-5.

Leone came back out for the bottom of the ninth inning, and promptly surrendered back-to-back singles by Adam Eaton and Trea Turner. One out later, Anthony Rendon drove in a run with his 34th double of the season, 11-6. John Brebbia took over and struck out Juan Soto... then gave up a long fly ball to right by Ryan Zimmerman that Yairo Munoz pulled back over the top of the wall with a leaping effort. He couldn’t catch it though, but kept it from being a three-run blast. Two-run double instead. 11-8 Cards. Wilmer Difo? Walk. This game. Will. Not. End.

Could Jordan Hicks bring it to an end after four hours and eleven minutes? Matt Wieters sent a grounder to third to end it.

Ballgame.

Final Score: 11-8 Cardinals

Nationals now 69-70