Matz has solid debut for Cardinals in win over Nationals

Jordan Hicks Rob Rains

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. – It was a successful Cardinals debut Monday night for Steven Matz.

The left-handed pitcher, signed as a free agent before the lockout, worked two scoreless innings in the Cardinals’ 7-3 win over the Nationals in West Palm Beach.

Matz threw 21 of his 29 pitches for strikes. In the first three games of the spring, the three Cardinals starters – Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas and Matz – have not walked only one  batter (by Mikolas) in their combined six innings.

The Cardinals have won all three games.

Other news and notes from Monday night’s game:

High: Edmundo Sosa, challenging Paul DeJong for playing time at shortstop, got the start and drove in three runs with a double in the fifth.

Low: The Cardinals’ two lefthanded relievers, Genesis Cabrera and T.J. McFarland, each allowed two hits and a run in one inning of work.

At the plate: Sosa’s double followed singles by Corey Dickerson and Lars Nootbaar and a walk to Juan Yepez … Dickerson made his Cardinals debut as the DH, going 1-of-2 plus drawing a walk … Nolan Gorman got the start at second base and had a pair of hits, scoring the go-ahead run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Anderson Tejada … Ali Sanchez started at catcher and drew three of the nine walks the Cardinals received … Julio Rodriguez doubled in two more runs in the ninth … Jordan Walker struck out in all three of his at-bats.

On the mound: Matz was the first of eight Cardinals pitchers. He got an inning-ending double play in the first inning after allowing a pair of singles … After Cabrera and McFarland each allowed a run, the Nationals scored their third run off Kodi Whitley, who also had two strike outs … Connor Thomas worked a perfect inning with a pair of strikeouts.

Off the field: The Cardinals picked up another lefthanded pitcher on Monday, claiming Packy Naughton off waivers from the Angels. Naughton, 25, made seven appearances for Los Angeles last season, including five starts. The addition of Naughton filled the last spot on the team’s 40-man roster … Teams and arbitration-eligible players are scheduled to exchange salary figures on Tuesday. The Cardinals have seven players eligible for arbitration – Jack Flaherty, Alex Reyes, Giovanny Gallegos, Jordan Hicks, Dakota Hudson, Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill. Hearings for any players who has not agreed to a deal will be held during the season.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will be back in Jupiter on Tuesday to host the Marlins. Dakota Hudson will make his first start of the spring.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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