Denard Span’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Washington Nationals a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday in the finale of a four-game set from Nationals Park.
Danny Espinosa and Jose Lobaton had three hits apiece for Washington and poked back-to-back singles with one away in the home half of the ninth off of Seth Maness (0-1). Nate McLouth then stepped in as a pinch-hitter and drew a walk to load the bags for Span, who fouled off four pitches before plating Espinosa with his lineout to left.
Rafael Soriano (1-0) pitched a perfect top of the ninth to each his first win of the season.
The Nationals were winners despite hitting just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and leaving 17 men on base.
The Cardinals went up 1-0 in the second inning when Jhonny Peralta’s double- play grounder allowed Matt Adams, who doubled to lead off the frame, to score without a throw.
The score stayed that way until the fifth. Washington starter Stephen Strasburg struck out Peralta and Mark Ellis to start the inning but walked Peter Bourjos and allowed his counterpart Shelby Miller to drive in a run with a double to deep left.
Strasburg fanned nine in six innings, allowing two runs on five hits while Miller struck out seven and kept Washington scoreless over 5 1/3 innings. Miller had trouble with his command, however, walking five batters.
Miller walked the bases loaded in the third inning but struck out Adam LaRoche to end the threat. He had a no-hitter until the fourth, when Espinosa broke it up with two outs with a single to right.
Carlos Martinez took the hill in the bottom of the seventh for St. Louis and lost the lead after surrendering four consecutive singles. LaRoche got things started with a one-out single to center, Anthony Rendon followed with another single to center and Ian Desmond put the Nats on the board with a slap to right. Espinosa’s RBI single made it 2-2.