The Washington Nationals beat the St Louis Cardinals 2-1 on Thursday in game five of their NL Division Series matchup to tie the series at two games.
This game was completely dominated by pitching. Each team picked up just three hits. But despite that pitching dominance, the Nationals pitching staff still walked five hitters, leading to the Cardinals stranding eight runners. That's not the story however, because it's not as if St Louis was blowing chances like the Reds were. The team only got three at bats with runners in scoring position. Their lone run off of Ross Detwiler and Washington's pitching staff came in the third inning, when a Carlos Beltran sac fly scored Pete Kozma, who moved to third on an error by Ian Desmond. Detwiler, the subject of much anger due to him taking Stephen Strasburg's rotation spot, did his best Strasburg impression on Thursday, allowing just the one unearned run on three hits over six innings, walking three and striking out two. It wasn't a great start, but it was exactly what the Nationals needed after three shaky starts to begin the series.
The Nationals offense did next to nothing againg St Louis starter Kyle Lohse. Lohse allowed only one run on two hits over seven, walking one and striking out five. Of those two hits, one was a solo homer off the bat of Adam LaRoche in the second inning, which gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Ryan Zimmermann singled in the fourth and died at first, and LaRoche walked in the seventh, only to be erased on a double play by Michael Morse. After Lohse left the game, Mitchell Boggs took over for the eighth, and ended up walking Kurt Suzuki…who didn't move from first base.
Enter the ninth inning. Reminiscent of Jay Bruce's at bat against Sergio Romo just a couple hours earlier, Jayson Werth fought Lance Lynn for 12 pitches…and hit the 13th pitch over the left field wall and into the Cardinals bullpen to force a game five in the series.
I'll give a special tip of the cap to the Nationals bullpen, who dominated the Cardinals in relief of Detwiler. Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard, and Drew Storen threw three no-hit, shutout innings, walking two and striking out eight. That my friends, is how you shut a lineup down.
Game five will be Friday in Washington, and is tentatively scheduled for 8:37 PM. Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals, and Gio Gonzalez will start for the Nationals, with the winning team meeting the Giants in game one of the NLCS on Sunday.