Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals split doubleheader against Nationals

Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals split doubleheader against Nationals

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals had to wait a day to get the second half of the season started after rain interrupted their game against the Nationals in the third inning on Friday night.

They had to wait another game to actually play more like the way they hope to play the rest of the season.

After losing 7-5 in 10 innings in the completion of the suspended game on Saturday, the Cardinals used a season-high 17-hit attack to post a 9-6 win over the Nationals in the night game at Busch Stadium.

The first game was marred by the Cardinals’ first three-error inning since 2017 as they allowed a total of four unearned runs.

The second game offered some reminders of the first half as well with the Cardinals blowing a 4-0 lead before getting five consecutive hits with two outs to score three runs in the fifth, then adding two insurance runs that allowed them to hold off the Nationals, who scored twice in the ninth off Genesis Cabrera.

Here is how Saturday’s games broke down:

At the plate: Nolan Gorman’s two-run double was the big hit in the fifth inning of game two, followed by an RBI single by Paul Dejong … Alec Burleson had three hits, including a home run, while Ivan Herrera also had a three-hit game … Brendan Donovan had a two-run triple, giving him five RBIs combined between the two games … Nolan Arenado capped the game two win with his 20th homer of the season, coming in the eighth inning … All five of the Cardinals’ runs in game one came on home runs, a solo shot by Lars Nootbaar in the first inning (on Friday night), a three-run homer by Donovan in the fifth and a solo blast from Willson Contreras in the eighth that tied the game at 5-5. They had only three other hits in the game.

On the mound: Steven Matz remained winless on the season (0-7) in 20 appearances, including 12 starts, as he could not protect the 4-0 lead in game 2, coming out of the game after 4 2/3 innings … Miles Mikolas was perfect in his three innings of work in game one, but that came before the rain hit on Friday night, which turned the innings on Saturday over to the bullpen … The Nationals scored their two runs in the 10th off Jordan Hicks, who was in his second inning of work …Dakota Hudson relieved Matz and earned the victory in game two, getting out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth. Hudson worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits.

Key stat: The four unearned runs allowed by the Cardinals in the first game increased the total to 51 unearned runs they have allowed this year, the most in the National League. They allowed a total of 32 unearned runs all of last season and gave up 53 unearned runs in the complete 2019 season.

Worth noting: The Cardinals’ first-round pick in this week’s amateur draft, outfielder Chase Davis, was in town on Saturday to sign his contract and also took batting practice on the field between games. “To get the swings in and be able to take everything in, it was unreal and an experience I am always going to remember,” Davis said. “This is a celebration being here with family, it’s priceless … definitely a day to remember.” Davis will report to the Cardinals complex in Jupiter, Fla., on Sunday and a plan will be completed about when and where Davis will begin his professional career … Adam Wainwright, recovering from injections in his right shoulder during the All-Star break, is scheduled to throw off a mound on Monday and how he feels afterward will determine the next steps in his return … Tyler O’Neill’s rehab assignment is continuing with Memphis this weekend. He is set to be re-evaluated the first of the week.

Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the three-game series against the Nationals.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out Rob Rains, Editor.