WASHINGTON (AP) — If nothing else, Nationals slugger Bryce Harper spent some quality time with Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter on Monday night.
Harper tied a career high with four hits, all singles, and reached base in all six plate appearances to help Washington to a 14-6 rout of St. Louis.
“I got to know Carpenter a little bit more than I have, so that was good,” Harper deadpanned. “He’s a great guy.”
Harper drove in three runs during his first four-hit game since April 17, 2013.
Stephen Drew, Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman each had three of Washington’s 19 hits. Drew drove in four runs and Eaton knocked in three as the Nationals overcame four errors. They broke open the game in a seven-run eighth inning.
“It was kind of an ugly game,” Washington manager Dusty Baker said. “But when you score, it will kill most of the ills.”
Tanner Roark (2-0) allowed five runs — three earned — over five innings. The right-hander worked around three errors committed behind him.
“Nobody’s perfect,” Roark said. “Errors are going to happen. You just do your best to try to pick up the guy that made the error.”
Stephen Piscotty returned to St. Louis’ lineup after missing two games with a sore left knee and knocked in two runs.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (0-2) gave up six runs, five earned, and 11 hits over four-plus innings.
“Sometimes you get your tail whooped and you’ve got to give some credit to the other side,” Wainwright said. “They hit some good pitches. They hit some not-so-good pitches.”
Wainwright failed to retire any of the three batters he faced as the Nationals took the lead with a three-run fifth. He exited after his 96th pitch, a 1-0 fastball that Drew belted to deep right for an RBI double that pulled Washington to 5-4.
Matt Wieters followed with a tying single off Brett Cecil. Two batters later, Eaton delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Washington’s last two runs came in the eighth on Harper’s two-out single that scorched past second baseman Kolten Wong and was not ruled an error because of a bad hop.
“When I was a kid there was so-called, ‘too hot to handle,'” Baker said. “And that ball was too hot to handle. That ball ate him up.”
Harper slid into first base on his third hit, his belt coming loose as his body slammed against the infield clay on a bunt single in the sixth inning. In the seventh, the right fielder fired a throw to first to double up Carpenter on Piscotty’s lineout, then pumped his fist in celebration. “That reminds me of my catching days and throwing guys out,” Harper said. “That was a lot of fun.”
TWO FOR ONE
With Eaton batting leadoff and Drew playing shortstop, they more than made up for the absence of Trea Turner, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday with a strained right hamstring. Drew did commit one of Washington’s four errors, but also made a diving stop of Jhonny Peralta’s hard-hit grounder to start an inning-ending double play in the fifth. At the time, Washington trailed 5-3. “Play of the game,” Roark said.
Cardinals: RHP Trevor Rosenthal (right lat strain) returned from the disabled list to strike out the side in the seventh. “He was terrific,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Perfect. He was effortless and the ball was jumping.”
Nationals: Baker said the decision to place Turner on the DL was made easier because of MLB’s new, shorter, 10-day minimum stay. “I think baseball did one of the best things they’ve done in a long time,” he said.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn looks to build upon 5 1/3 innings last week in his first start since 2015 after missing last season recovering from elbow surgery.
Nationals: Gio Gonzalez will try to improve his numbers against Cardinals leadoff man Dexter Fowler, who is 10 for 20 with a homer and four extra-base hits vs. the lefty in his career.
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