Saturday’s Game Report: Nationals 7, Cardinals 6
By Rob Rains
Twice in Saturday night’s game Cardinals manager Oli Marmol made the decision to bring a lefthander out of his bullpen to face Juan Soto.
The outcome of those decisions ended up as the reason for the win by the Nationals in Washington, D.C.
In the fifth, with the Cardinals leading 4-1, Marmol pulled starter Dakota Hudson with one out and a runner on first as Soto came up to bat. Soto singled on the first pitch from Packy Naughton. A two-run double by Nelson Cruz came one out later, followed by a game-tying single.
As Soto prepared for his next at-bat, in the seventh, the Cardinals led 5-4 and the Nationals again had a runner on first, this time with nobody out, when Marmol pulled Jordan Hicks and brought in Genesis Cabrera.
This time Soto drew his third walk of the game but Josh Bell followed with a three-run homer which turned out to be difference in the game.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Paul DeJong got the start at shortstop and in his first game in the majors since being demoted to Memphis on May 9, he hit a two-run homer and added a third RBI with a sacrifice fly … Nolan Arenado hit his 19th homer of the season and the Cardinals also got sacrifice flies from Lars Nootbaar and Corey Dickerson. Dickerson pinch-hit for Tyler O’Neill in the fifth after O’Neill had to come out of the game because of leg cramps after getting a single and double in his first two at-bats … Nolan Gorman was the only other Cardinal with two hits, collecting a pair of singles … The Cardinals were 0-of-6 with a runner in scoring position but did get the three sacrifice flies.
On the mound: Hudson was pulled after throwing 83 pitches. He allowed four hits, one a homer by Victor Robles. Eight of his 13 outs came on ground balls and his only two walks were to Soto … Hicks worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning but hit the first batter he faced in the seventh before coming out of the game … Johan Oviedo worked a perfect eighth inning.
Key stat: DeJong hit 17 homers in 51 games in Memphis after hitting only one, on April 5, in the majors. His three RBIs matched his total from his final 50 at-bats over his final 15 games before he was sent to Memphis.
Worth noting: The Cardinals opened a roster spot for DeJong by trading backup infielder Edmundo Sosa to the Phillies, acquiring lefthanded reliever JoJo Romero. Sosa was out of options and the Cardinals knew another team would claim him if their tried to send him to the minors. Romero, 25, has pitched in 25 major-league games. He was assigned to Memphis … To make room for Hudson on the active roster, reliever James Naile was returned to Memphis … Yadier Molina made his second rehab start at Memphis, catching five innings and getting a hit and a walk in three plate appearances. He is scheduled to catch again on Sunday and barring a setback, rejoin the Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Looking ahead: Andre Pallante will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the series and the road trip.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains