Nationals pluck Cardinals 3-2

Published On: Oct 08 2012 01:49:50 AM EDT
Updated On: Oct 08 2012 02:00:34 AM EDT
Baseball home plate

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Sports Xchange) -

The Washington Nationals were so impressed with outfielder Tyler Moore as an amateur that they drafted him three times before he finally signed. On Sunday, that persistence paid off in the opening game of the NL Division Series.

Moore, a rookie who played only 75 games for the Nationals this season, came off the bench and delivered a two-run single in the eighth inning to lift the Nationals to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

With the Nationals trailing 2-1, manager Davey Johnson sent Moore to the plate to bat for the announced pinch hitter, Chad Tracy, after the Cardinals brought in left-handed pitcher Marc Rzepczynski to pitch to Tracy. Moore lined a 2-2 pitch to right to drive in Michael Morse, on base thanks to an error by shortstop Pete Kozma, and Ian Desmond, who had singled off Mitchell Boggs for his third hit of the game.

The Cardinals had taken advantage of Washington starter Gio Gonzalez's inability to throw strikes by bunching four walks, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to score both of their runs in the second inning, a lead they held until the eighth.

Gonzalez, who led the NL with 21 wins in the regular season, tied his career high by issuing seven walks in the game. He had done that only once in 121 regular-season starts. In the regular season this year, he had not walked more than five batters, doing that twice.

The wild pitch, while pitcher Adam Wainwright was batting, allowed the first St. Louis run to score, and with the bases loaded -- all on walks -- Jon Jay lofted a sacrifice fly to left to drive in the second run.

The Cardinals had fallen behind 1-0 in the top of the second when Adam LaRoche drew a leadoff walk and later scored on a two-out single by Kurt Suzuki.

That was all the offense Washington could generate against Wainwright, who became the first Cardinal pitcher to record 10 or more strikeouts in a postseason game since Bob Gibson fanned 10 in Game 4 of the 1968 World Series.

Wainwright was pulled with two runners on base and two outs in the sixth, and after reliever Lance Lynn walked pinch hitter Roger Bernadina to load the bases, he got out of the inning by striking out Jayson Werth.

Gonzalez allowed only one hit in his five innings, a single by David Freese leading off the fourth. Freese also got the second hit for the Cardinals, a one-out single in the sixth. The Cardinals loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh, on an error, a single by Carlos Beltran and a hit batter, but Ryan Mattheus got out of the jam on two pitches by getting Allen Craig to ground into a forceout and Yadier Molina to hit into a double play.

That was the Cardinals' last chance. Drew Storen earned the save by retiring Jay, Beltran and Matt Holliday in order in the ninth.

NOTES: The age difference between managers Davey Johnson (69) and Mike Matheny (42) is the largest in playoff history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Johnson is the oldest current manager in the majors, and Matheny is the youngest ... Johnson has now managed four different teams in the playoffs, making his first appearance since he managed Baltimore in 1997 ... The game was the first in the postseason by a Washington team since Oct. 5, 1933, when the Senators lost Game 5 of the World Series to the New York Giants ... The only previous trip to the postseason for the current Washington franchise came in 1981, when the Montreal Expos reached the NL Championship Series ... Only four players on the Nationals roster have previous playoff experience -- Werth, LaRoche, Edwin Jackson and Michael Gonzalez ... The Game 2 starters will be Jordan Zimmermann for Washington and Jaime Garcia for St. Louis. One of the reasons Garcia is starting ahead of Chris Carpenter is his success at Busch Stadium. This year, Garcia is 4-2 with a 2.82 ERA in nine home starts, 3-5 with a 5.02 ERA in 11 road starts. In his career, Garcia is 20-11 with a 2.48 ERA at home and 14-12 with a 4.47 ERA on the road.

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