Even die-hard Nats fans didn’t see this coming with the less than stellar start to the season. The first season in recent years without slugger Bryce Harper didn’t bog down the Nationals hopes of doing something they’ve never done before. Using a combination of consistent offense and lights-out pitching, the Nats entered tonight with a commanding 3-0 series lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.
After seeing the Cardinals put together a 10-run first inning against the Atlanta Braves, the Nats achieved something similar. After breezing through the top of the first, Washington tallied seven runs to put some massive weight on the visitors.
Patrick Corbin was on the bump for the Nats, keeping a trend of scoreless innings going early. He would end up exiting after five innings of work, allowing four hits, walking three, striking out 12 with four runs scored.
St. Louis wouldn’t go down quietly, however. A solo shot by Yadier Molina in the fourth put them on the board, and three more runs the following inning made things really interesting. The bugaboo for the Nationals has been their bullpen, which they hadn’t relied on much through the first three games.
With two outs in the eighth, the Cardinals got two aboard, one via hit and the other hit by pitch. Daniel Hudson would walk a dangerous Paul DeJong to load the bases, giving Matt Carpenter a chance to be the rally yak the Cardinals desperately needed. Hudson got out of the jam by inducing a grounder, ending the threat and cutting the Cardinals’ comeback chances to three outs.
Hudson re-entered in the ninth to finish it out with one flyout, another pop fly and a fly out to center.
We’ll see you in the World Series Washington! Ryan Zimmerman’s time in Nationals Park lives on!