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Washington Nationals hold on for 7-6 win, even things up with St. Louis Cardinals in D.C.

The Nationals rallied to take the lead on a Josh Bell homer in the seventh, and evened things up with the Cardinals...

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Espino vs St. Louis:

After giving up a run on four hits in four innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers last time out on the mound, Paolo Espino was left with a 4.58 ERA, a 5.61 FIP, eight walks, 28 Ks, and a .282/.320/.528 line against in 35 13 innings of work since he moved from Washington’s relief corps bullpen to the Nationals’ starting rotation back in mid-June.

In his start on the road in Chavez Ravine, manager Davey Martinez went to the bullpen in the fifth, explaining afterwards he liked the matchups, with Andres Machado against the middle of the Dodgers’ lineup.

This time out, Espino got a strike’em out, throw’em out double play out of Paul Goldschmidt in the top of the first, after a one-out single by Tyler O’Neill, but he left a 3-1 fastball up for Nolan Arenado in the first at-bat of the second, and the Cardinals’ third baseman hit it out to left field (385 feet) for his 19th of 2022 and a 1-0 lead.

It was 1-1 in the fifth when Lars Nootbaar reached on a shift-beating single and scored on a 2-run home run to left by Paul DeJong, whose 2nd of ‘22 put the Cardinals up 3-1. 400-foot homer for DeJong.

Andrew Knizer singled after the home run, and took third on a one-out hit by Dylan Carlson, before he scored on a sac fly by pinch hitter Corey Dickerson, 4-1 Cards. That was it for the Nats’ starter...

Paolo Espino’s Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 2 HRs, 70 P, 42 S, 3/5 GO/FO.

Hudson in D.C.:

Dakota Hudson, 27, was a 2016 1st Round pick by the Cardinals (34th overall), and he made his MLB debut two years later.

Going into the 19th outing of his fifth big league campaign tonight, the right-hander had a 4.10 ERA, a 4.49 FIP, and a .257/.345/.370 line against in 96 23 IP on the year, coming off a six-plus inning start against the LA Dodgers in which he gave up six hits, one walk, and four runs in a 4-0 loss at home in St. Louis.

Tonight in the nation’s capital, Hudson, who was coming off an IL stint for a neck issue, and the right-hander got off to a good start with two scoreless on 37 pitches, but he gave up a one-out home run by Victor Robles in the bottom of the third, with the center fielder in D.C. sending a 1-2 curve 390 feet to left field to tie things up at 1-1 after the Cardinals scored one run in the top of the second.

Hudson hit César Hernandez, and walked Juan Soto (for the 2nd time in 2 PAs), but stranded both at the end of a 24-pitch frame which left him at 61 total after three.

After he worked around a one-out single by Keibert Ruiz in the fourth, Hudson’s night ended on a one-out single by César Hernández in the fifth, after the Cardinals went up 4-1...

Dakota Hudson’s Line: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 83 P, 56 S, 7/1 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Andres Machado took over for the Nationals with one on and one out in the top of the fifth inning, and stranded the inherited baserunner to keep it a 4-1 game in the Cards’ favor.

Packy Naughton took over for the visiting club with one on and one out in the bottom of the fifth, and Juan Soto due up, and the Cardinals’ lefty gave up an opposite field single by the Nationals’ slugger, who’d walked in each of his first two plate appearances. Nelson Cruz got a shot to drive in some runs and cashed it in, hitting a 1-2 fastball outside to right field for a two-out, two-run double which made it a one-run game, and he scored on a single to center off Yadiel Hernández’s bat, 4-4 after five.

Machado gave up a leadoff walk to Nolan Arenado and a single by Nolan Gorman, then the Nationals went to Hunter Harvey, who gave up a sac fly to left by Lars Nootbaar which put the Cardinals back on top, 5-4. Harvey got back-to-back Ks from the next two batters to get out of the Cards’ sixth, but the Nationals were down a run...

Jordan Hicks got the ball for the Cardinals in the bottom of the sixth, and he retired the side in order in a quick, seven-pitch frame (throwing 98-100 MPH fastballs).

Erasmo Ramírez (with help from a range-y Victor Robles on a catch in left-center), tossed a 1-2-3 top of the seventh.

Hicks hit César Hernández in the first at-bat of the Nats’ seventh, and Juan Soto stepped in next ... against a new pitcher, lefty Genesis Cabrera, and after a passed moved the runner into scoring position, Soto took his third walk of the night to put two on for Josh Bell whose three-run home run to right field just cleared the out-of-town scoreboard, 7-5 Nationals. 404 to right for Bell’s 14th of 2022.

Carl Edwards, Jr. gave up leadoff and one-out singles and a base-loading walk before he was lifted in favor of Kyle Finnegan with the bases loaded and the Nationals up two in the top of the eighth.

Kyle Finnegan gave up a sac fly to center by Paul DeJong, 7-6, and Victor Robles made an ill-advised throw home on the play, allowing both runners, including the tying run, to advance to third base, but a fly to center ended the threat with the Nationals up by a run.

Finnegan returned to the mound in the ninth, and retired the Cards in order to lock down the one-run win. Final Score: 7-6 Nationals.

Nationals now 35-67