In the rubber match series finale in Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals’ right-hander Adam Wainwright outdueled Washington Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer in what ended up a 5-1 win for the home team.
It was a 2-1 game in the seventh inning when Scherzer’s frame was extended, on a two-out fly to left field that Juan Soto lost in the sun. Then an RBI single and two-run blast followed in the next two at bats as the Cards blew it open and knocked the Nats’ starter out.
The win was the Cardinals’ fifth in seven games with the Nationals this season, and the 31st in 43 games against the Nats in Busch Stadium (III) since it opened in 2006.
Scherzer in St. Louis: In five starts back following his second IL stint of the season, Max Scherzer had a 3.91 ERA, seven walks, 33 Ks, and a .245/.290/.439 line against in 25 1⁄3 IP heading into tonight’s outing against the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium.
Last time out before today, the 35-year-old right-hander gave up seven hits, two walks, and three earned runs in five innings of work on the mound against the Atlanta Braves, in which he threw a total of 99 pitches.
“I feel like the action on every pitch is pretty much where I want it,” Scherzer said, “just now it’s coming down to location. So, there’s little things I can sharpen up mechanically to make sure that that happens.”
T.G.I.#Scherzday.#STAYINTHEFIGHT // #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/huNHNr3AIY— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 18, 2019
This afternoon in his home state of Missouri, Scherzer tossed two scoreless and hitless on 25 pitches to start, but one out into the bottom of the third, the Nationals were down 1-0 after Tommy Edman hit the 1-2 cutter he got, down and in from the Nats’ starter, out to right field for a solo blast.
Matt Carpenter doubled to right to start the Cardinals’ half of the fifth, and moved up on a groundout by catcher Yadier Molina, before his pinch runner, Harrison Bader, scored on a groundout by Paul DeJong, 2-0.
Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong hit back-to-back, one-out singles off Scherzer in the bottom of the sixth, but two outs (and a botched pick attempt) later, both runners were stranded at the end of a 15-pitch frame.
Scherzer hit for himself in the top of the seventh, grounding out unproductively with a man on on second and one out, then came back out in the bottom of the inning and appeared to have three outs when Paul DeJong sent a two-out fly to left, but Juan Soto lost it in the sun, and let it drop in for a double, and Tommy Edman followed with an RBI single to left to make it 3-1 Cards.
Matt Wieters followed that hit with a pinch hit home run on a hanging curve, sending a two-run shot out to right to put the Cardinals up 5-1.
Good time to hit a 2-run home run! pic.twitter.com/gyDEacN4Cs— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 18, 2019
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 11 Ks, 2 HRs, 109 P, 77 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Wainwright vs Washington: Adam Wainwright took the mound today unbeaten in his last four outings, with a 1.14 ERA, seven walks, 15 Ks, and a .209/.269/.291 line against in 23 2⁄3 innings pitched over that stretch.
Wainwright, 38, was going up against the Nationals for a second time this season, after he held Washington’s hitters to six hits, two walks, and two earned runs in 6 1⁄3 IP in a 3-2 win for the Cardinals in the nation’s capital in late April.
Wainwright tossed a scoreless first inning, then got an out at home on the third of three straight two-out singles in the top of the second, with Victor Robles thrown out trying to score from second on a bad send to end the Cards’ starter’s second scoreless frame.
Given a 1-0 lead to work with in the third, Wainwright came out and completed his fourth scoreless, an 11-pitch frame that left him at 51 pitches.
Wainwright was up to 62 pitches after working around a leadoff single in the fifth with a K on a bunt attempt by Max Scherzer, and an inning-ending double play off of Trea Turner’s bat, then he took the mound with a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth, and put two on before getting an inning-ending double play out of Howie Kendrick to complete a sixth scoreless frame... except it was reviewed and Kendrick was ruled safe at first, and a challenge to the call at second (with the Cards claiming Juan Soto interfered with second baseman Kolten Wong — which he did, sort of), was denied, bringing Asdrúbal Cabrera up with two down and runners on the corners. Cabrera? Fly to center for out No. 3.
Yan Gomes singled with one out in the seventh, took second on an error by Dexter Fowler in right, and scored on an RBI double to left by Trea Turner, 2-1 Cards.
Adam Eaton stepped in next, with the potential tying run at second, and sent a fly out to the warning track in right for out No. 3.
Adam Wainwright’s Line: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 97 P, 69 S, 12/2 GO/FO.
Waino has a 2.08 ERA at Busch Stadium in 2019! pic.twitter.com/S6vKyK085h— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 18, 2019
Two Bags: Anthony Rendon started the day with 43 doubles for the season, one shy of his own career high of 44 set in 2018, four shy of tying Daniel Murphy (47 in 2016) and Ryan Zimmerman (47 in 2006) for the most doubles in a single season in Nationals’ franchise history (2005-present).
[ed. note - “He didn’t get another double today. What do you want? We write up some of the notes before the game and hope we make things happen that way. With our minds.”]
Nationals Busched: After splitting the first two games of this week’s three-game series in Busch Stadium (III), which opened in 2006, the Cardinals were (30-12) in 42 games against the Nationals in their home park, with wins in 11 of 13 series in St. Louis over that stretch.
The Cards win today left them [counts on fingers] 31-12, with wins in 12 of 14 series with the Nationals.
BULLPEN ACTION: Tanner Rainey got the final out of the Cardinals’ seventh after taking over for Max Scherzer.
Giovanny Gallegos walked Anthony Rendon (who walked more than he K’d in college) in the first at bat of the Nats’ eighth, and Howie Kendrick hit a one-out single off of a new reliever, Andrew Miller, to put two on in front of Asdrúbal Cabrera, who hit one out to right field that Dexter Fowler brought back over the fence with a leaping catch at the wall...
JUMPMAN! pic.twitter.com/XWN26Ugz9l— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 18, 2019
Carlos Martínez came on with two on and two out, and got a groundout from Victor Robles for out No. 3. Still 5-1 Cards.
Rainey returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and tossed a scoreless frame to keep it a four-run game.
Carlos Martínez got the ninth as well, and retired the Nationals in order to end it... 5-1 Cards.
Nationals now 83-68