Desmond, Nix lift Nats over CardsApr 21, 2011 - 1:53 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Ian Desmond and Laynce Nix both drove in two runs to help the Washington Nationals edge the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-6, in the opener of a doubleheader.
Tuesday's scheduled game was rained out, forcing the teams to begin this three-game series with a day-night set at Busch Stadium.
Danny Espinosa collected three hits and scored two runs for the Nationals, who were coming off a three-game sweep of Milwaukee that included a Sunday doubleheader.
Washington starter John Lannan (2-1) yielded solo home runs to Albert Pujols and Colby Rasmus among seven hits over five-plus innings.
Rasmus finished with three RBI for St. Louis, which has dropped two straight on the heels of a four-game win streak. Jake Westbrook (1-2) was tagged for seven runs and seven hits in just three full frames and absorbed the loss.
The Nationals pushed home a run in the top of the first on a fielder's choice by Adam LaRoche, then put up a six-spot two innings later.
Espinosa stroked a one-out single in the third and Rick Ankiel walked before Jayson Werth grounded a run-scoring base hit to left field. After Westbrook walked LaRoche to load the bases, Desmond plated a pair with a looping single to center. Nix followed with an RBI single before Desmond swiped home on a perfectly executed double steal. Ivan Rodriguez then smacked an RBI double to right-center for a 7-0 Washington lead.
"It just kind of snowballed in that one inning," Westbrook said. "I just couldn't get anybody out."
St. Louis began to chip away at its deficit, as Pujols took Lannan deep in the bottom of the third and Rasmus added a solo shot in the fifth.
Chad Gaudin replaced Lannan after Lance Berkman singled to start the sixth. Berkman, though, was erased on a double play. Gerald Laird kept the frame alive with a ground-rule double, then Tyler Greene reached on a Desmond fielding error and pinch-hitter Nick Punto walked to load the bases. Ryan Theriot knocked in a run with an infield hit before Doug Slaten surrendered a two-run single to Rasmus. Tyler Clippard took over on the mound and retired Pujols on a fly ball to end the inning and limit the damage to three runs.
The Cardinals put their first two batters on base in the seventh and failed to score.
Nix launched a solo home run off Ryan Franklin in the next frame, but St. Louis got the run back in the home half of the eighth on a two-out single by Pujols.
"[Nix's] home run was huge," said Washington manager Jim Riggleman. "We hadn't done anything for a few innings and when he did that, it reminded us that we can still score, too.
Drew Storen recorded the final four outs to pick up his second save of the season.
Theriot had four hits...Fernando Salas tossed three scoreless innings for St. Louis...The teams split the six-game series last season.
- WASHINGTON: 8
ST. LOUIS: 6
Apr 20 5:35 PM
- Albert Pujols singled to center scored Mark Hamilton. Runner on first with two outs and Matt Holliday due up.
Nationals 8, Cardinals 6 Bot 8, 2 OutsApr 20 5:14 PM
- Laynce Nix one-out, solo Home Run (2) to right. Ivan Rodriguez due up.
Nationals 8, Cardinals 5 Top 8, 1 OutApr 20 5:01 PM
- Colby Rasmus singled to left center scored Tyler Greene and Nick Punto. Runners on first and third with two outs and Albert Pujols due up.
Nationals 7, Cardinals 5 Bot 6, 2 OutsApr 20 4:25 PM
- Ryan Theriot singled to third scored Gerald Laird. Bases loaded with two outs and Colby Rasmus due up.
Nationals 7, Cardinals 3 Bot 6, 2 OutsApr 20 4:21 PM
- Colby Rasmus one-out, solo Home Run (3) to right center. Albert Pujols due up.
Nationals 7, Cardinals 2 Bot 5, 1 OutApr 20 3:53 PM
- Matt Holliday singled to left. Runner on first with two outs and Lance Berkman due up.
Nationals 7, Cardinals 1 Bot 3, 2 OutsApr 20 3:18 PM
- Ivan Rodriguez doubled to right scored Laynce Nix. Runner on second with one out and Alex Cora due up.
Nationals 7, Cardinals 0 Top 3, 1 OutApr 20 3:13 PM
- Ian Desmond stole home, on the play Laynce Nix stole second. Runner on second with one out and Ivan Rodriguez at the plate.
Nationals 6, Cardinals 0 Top 3, 1 OutApr 20 3:08 PM
- Laynce Nix singled to right scored Adam LaRoche. Runners on first and third with one out and Ivan Rodriguez due up.
Nationals 5, Cardinals 0 Top 3, 1 OutApr 20 3:06 PM
- Jayson Werth singled to left scored Danny Espinosa. Runners on first and third with one out and Adam LaRoche due up.
Nationals 2, Cardinals 0 Top 3, 1 OutApr 20 3:02 PM
- Adam LaRoche grounded into a fielder's choice, second to short scored Danny Espinosa. Runner on first with two outs and Ian Desmond due up.
Nationals 1, Cardinals 0 Top 1, 2 OutsApr 20 2:23 PM
- WASHINGTON: 0
ST. LOUIS: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Apr 20 2:16 PM
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