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Belliard powers surprising Nationals past Cardinals

May 28, 2007 - 12:33 AM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- After receiving his championship ring, Ronnie Belliard showed his former club what it is missing.

Belliard belted a two-run homer and five Washington Nationals' hurlers worked around a lengthy rain delay to piece together a stellar performance en route to a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

Ryan Langerhans blew the game open with a grand slam for Washington (21-30), which is in last place in the National League East but continues to play well above expectations, emerging victorious in five of its last six games.

Earlier this week, the Nationals took three of four from the Cincinnati Reds, playing their best baseball of the season. It was no different on Sunday afternoon as Washington completed a series win against the defending World Series champions behind early offense from Belliard.

"This is very encouraging," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "The combination of the offense and the bullpen has helped us have this great road trip."

A pesky second baseman on last season's title-winning squad, the husky Belliard is known more for his defensive flair than his offensive prowess. But he used his bat to spark the Nationals, capping a two-out rally in the fifth inning.

"(Playing against the Cardinals) has nothing to do with it," Belliard said. "I just have to do my job no matter where I play. Manny put me in the lineup and thank God I got four hits out of it."

After Felipe Lopez singled, Belliard drilled a homer to deep left field off Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright to start the scoring. After Ryan Zimmerman singled, a rain delay followed with an 0-2 count on Nationals left fielder Ryan Church.

"I think (Wainwright) just hung a pitch," said Belliard, who had a season-high four hits. "He jammed me my first at-bat so I was looking inside. He tried to get me out inside but he hung a pitch."

Rookie Matt Chico entered Sunday's contest with a 0-4 mark and a 6.31 ERA in five road appearances - a direct contrast to his 3-0 record with a 4.74 ERA in five home starts. On Sunday, he was effective, allowing just three hits without a walk or strikeout.

"I didn't have the command of my fastball," Chico said. "So I relied mostly on my off-speed, my changeup and slider. Those were the pitches that were working for me all night."

Chico did not qualify for the win thanks to passing thunderstorms that delayed the contest one hour and one minute. Saul Rivera (1-1) relieved him after the break, tossing two innings and allowing one run and two hits to secure the victory.

Ray King, Jesus Colome and Chad Cordero then combined to pitch three frames, allowing one run and three hits in relief to close out the game.

With the Nationals leading, 3-1, in the eighth, Langerhans blasted his first career grand slam to dead center field off Cardinals reliever Randy Flores to make it 7-1. It was the first homer since August 25, 2006, for Langerhans, who entered the contest hitting .148.

"I've been seeing the ball a lot better recently," Langerhans said. "I was trying to get something to hit to left-center and (Flores) left the slider up and I was able to get extended."

Wainwright (4-4) was the victim of poor runs support, yielding two runs and seven hits in seven frames, striking out six without walking a batter for the Cardinals, who suffered just their second loss in their last six contests.

"Today I felt really good," said Wainwright, who snapped a three-game home winning streak. "I felt in control of all my pitches. For the most part I controlled the counts and controlled my fastball. With the exception of three hitters in the fifth inning, I was pretty locked in."

"We just had another really frustrating offensive day," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "We missed a real good opportunity to get something going, but Adam pitched well."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 5 0 7 10 1
    ST LOUIS 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: WAS - MATT CHICO, SAUL RIVERA (5TH), RAY KING (7TH), JESUS COLOME
    (8TH), CHAD CORDERO (9TH) AND JESUS FLORES
    STL - ADAM WAINWRIGHT, RUSS SPRINGER (8TH), RANDY
    FLOR

    May 27 6:07 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY SCOTT SPIEZIO (1) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF JESUS COLOME.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 7, ST LOUIS 2
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A PUJOLS (.298, 2-FOR-3)

    Nationals vs. CardinalsMay 27 5:47 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    GRAND SLAM BY RYAN LANGERHANS (1) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF RANDY FLORES SCORED RYAN ZIMMERMAN, RYAN CHURCH AND JESUS
    FLORES.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 7, ST LOUIS 1
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R KING (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Nationals vs. CardinalsMay 27 5:40 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY RANDY FLORES SCORED RONNIE BELLIARD.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R CHURCH ON SECOND, R ZIMMERMAN ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3
    ST LOUIS 1 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R FICK (.196, 1-FOR-3)

    Nationals vs. CardinalsMay 27 5:30 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JUAN ENCARNACION SCORED SCOTT SPIEZIO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A PUJOLS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 2
    ST LOUIS 1 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: S ROLEN (.234, 1-FOR-2)

    Nationals vs. CardinalsMay 27 4:59 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY RONNIE BELLIARD (2) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 5TH OFF ADAM WAINWRIGHT SCORED FELIPE LOPEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 2, ST LOUIS 0
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R ZIMMERMAN (.246, 0-FOR-2)

    Nationals vs. CardinalsMay 27 3:35 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Hogie Added 5 roots

    Nationals vs. CardinalsMay 24 6:53 PM