Nats, Cardinals split doubleheader

April 20, 2011

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lance Berkman had three hits and two RBIs and the St. Louis Cardinals got four innings of one-hit relief in a 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals, giving them a doubleheader split on Wednesday night.

Laynce Nix homered and drove in two runs in Game 1 for the Nationals, who chased Jake Westbrook with a six-run third inning in an 8-6 victory.

Jaime Garcia (3-0) allowed one earned run in five innings and Colby Rasmus got his fourth RBI of the day as St. Louis snapped Washington’s four-game losing streak in the nightcap. Reserve third baseman Daniel Descalso had three nice defensive plays.

Jason Motte and rookie Eduardo Sanchez combined for nine straight outs and stand-in closer Mitchell Boggs yielded a hit in the ninth before finishing for his first career save.

Jordan Zimmermann (1-3) kept alive the Nationals starters’ streak of working at least five innings in every game, but gave up five runs in six innings in the loss. Zimmermann allowed two earned runs or less in each of his first three outings.

Berkman, the reigning NL player of the week, doubled in a run in the fourth and delivered a run-scoring single for the go-ahead hit in the fifth.

Descalso charged to throw out Jerry Hairston Jr. on a grounder in the third and later in the inning snared Danny Espinosa’s bouncer down the line and threw him out. He foiled another slow roller on Jayson Werth’s run-scoring groundout in the fourth.

The second half of a day-night doubleheader drew a paid attendance of 33,714 and a turnstile count of 28,536, a massive improvement over the opener. A sparse crowd of 8,686 showed up for Game 1 at general admission prices and a sit-anywhere policy to watch the makeup game of a rainout Tuesday night, the franchise’s worst crowd since Sept. 14, 1989, when only 1,519 watched a makeup of a tie game called by rain against the Pirates.

Sloppy play by St. Louis helped the Nationals tie it in Game 2.

Left fielder Matt Holliday camped under and dropped Rick Ankiel’s fly ball to the warning track for a three-base error in the fourth, leading to an unearned run. Espinosa hit an RBI single in the fifth, then went to third on Garcia’s wild pickoff throw for an error before scoring on Ankiel’s single.

The Cardinals regained the lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth that began with Albert Pujols’ full-count walk and was capped by run-scoring singles from Berkman and Yadier Molina.

Pujols hit his fifth homer and Colby Rasmus also went deep in the opener. Rasmus had three RBIs, but also grounded into two of the Cardinals’ four double plays. Demoted closer Ryan Franklin retired four straight batters before Nix homered with one out in the eighth on a pitch that caused Franklin to recoil in disgust.

“They hit one ball hard and everything else I made pitches,” Franklin said. “You can’t keep being negative on yourself, you’ve got to try to take something positive out of it.”

Drew Storen allowed a walk while getting the last four outs for his second save in two chances. Espinosa had three hits, including a pair of infield singles.

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