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Washington Nationals drop series opener to St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2, lose 7th in last 11...

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Marcell Ozuna drove in all four runs for the Cardinals in a 4-2 win over the Nationals in Busch Stadium.

Washington Nationals v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run home run off Stephen Strasburg in the first and a two-out, two-run double off Hunter Strickland in the seventh, driving in all four runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals in the series opener in Busch Stadium.

Strasburg vs the Cardinals: Stephen Strasburg held the Cardinals to a run on six hits in 6 23 innings pitched when he faced St. Louis in the nation’s capital back on May 2nd, striking out nine of the 27 batters he faced in what ended up a 2-1 win.

Going into his second start of the season against St. Louis, Washington’s 31-year-old right-hander was (17-6) in 30 starts, with a 3.49 ERA, a 3.22 FIP, 49 walks (2.31 BB/9), and 229 Ks (10.79 K/9) in 191 IP thus far in 2019.

Strasburg gave up a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first in Busch Stadium, and two outs later the runner, Dexter Fowler, came around on a two-run home run to center field by the Cardinals’ left fielder, Marcell Ozuna, who got all of a 1-2 fastball up high outside, 2-0 Cards.

After what ended up being a 38-pitch first, the Nationals’ starter struck out the side in a quick, 12-pitch second, but needed 26 pitches in the third, working around the back-to-back walks which started the frame.

Strasburg worked around a leadoff single in the fourth, and retired the Cardinals in order in the fifth, but he was up to 99 pitches at that point and done for the night...

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 99 P, 67 S, 7/0 GO/FO.

Hudson vs the Nationals: Dakota Hudson, 25, was unbeaten in five outings between August 14th and September 5th, with a 1.11 ERA, 13 walks, 23 Ks, and a .114/.218/.190 line against in 32 13 IP in that dominant stretch, but he took a loss last time out before tonight, giving up a total of four hits, five walks, and two earned runs in six innings of work in what ended up a 2-1 loss to the Rockies.

Hudson was facing the Nationals for the second time this season after allowing four hits, two walks, and two runs (one earned) over six innings of work in a 2-1 loss in the nation’s capital back on May 2nd.

Given a 2-0 lead to work with before he took the mound, Hudson tossed three scoreless on 37 pitches, but loaded the bases with two out in the fourth and gave up a run on a single to left by Victor Robles, with Juan Soto coming in before Asdrúbal Cabrera was thrown out at the plate to end a 25-pitch frame which left the Cardinals’ right-hander at 62 pitches overall.

Anthony Rendon tied it up with one swing in the top of the sixth inning, sending a 93 MPH 1-2 sinker out to left for his 34th home run of the 2019 campaign, 2-2 game, but Hudson kept it there, and threw a scoreless top of the seventh as well before his teammates took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the inning...

Dakota Hudson’s Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 96 P, 56 S, 13/4 GO/FO.

8 in a row?: With the Nationals’ win over the Braves on Sunday afternoon, they guaranteed a finish above .500 for the eighth consecutive season, making them one of just four other big league teams that have finished above .500 every year since 2012, along with LA’s Dodgers, NY’s Yankees, and the St. Louis Cardinals they were playing tonight.

Robles’s Run: Coming into the first of three in St. Louis, Missouri tonight, Victor Robles had reached base in 29 of his last 32 games, putting up a .317/.381/.508 line over that stretch.

He made it 30 of 33 with an RBI single in the fourth, driving in the Nationals’ first run of the game after they fell behind 2-0 early.

BULLPEN ACTION: Tanner Rainey came on for the Nationals in a 2-2 game in the sixth, and worked around a two-out single by Tommy Edman for a scoreless frame.

Sean Doolittle came on in the bottom of the seventh inning and struck out two batters around a one-out walk to Dexter Fowler before Chip Hale went to the bullpen again for right-hander Hunter Strickland.

Strickland walked Paul Goldschmidt and threw a wild pitch, moving both runners into scoring position for Marcell Ozuna, who hit a two-run double to left field to make it 4-2 Cardinals.

Cards’ righty John Brebbia got the first out of the eighth before the Cardinals turned to lefty Andrew Miller, who retired the next two batters to keep the two-run last intact.

Wander Suero was back to being filthy tonight in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.

Andrew Miller came back out in the top of the ninth and retired the two batters before the Cards brought Carlos Martinez on for out No. 3, and he got it. 4-2 Cardinals final.

Nationals now 82-67