ST. LOUIS — One day after a nail-biter, the St. Louis Cardinals found themselves in a cakewalk.
The Cardinals had 13 hits and four home runs to defeat Washington 12-4 in Game 2 of the National League Division Series Monday, after losing Game 1 by a 3-2 score.
St. Louis scored four in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth, one in the sixth and four in the eighth.
"It's huge," Cardinals third baseman David Freese said. "I think every game is a must-win, obviously, but going down 2-0 -- I guess you can say it now, after we won -- but going down 2-0 is not something we were too fond of.
"Just to come out of here with a victory, no matter how we did it, is a good thing."
The series moves to Washington for three games Wednesday through Friday. The team that wins two of those three will advance to the Natioinal League Championship Series next Sunday.
Carlos Beltran hit two home runs, and Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso added solo shots in a 13-hit Cardinals attack. Five of those hits came in a four-run second, and the Cards never looked back.
The 12 runs matched a Division Series high for the Cardinals, who also got a dozen runs in a 12-2 win at Arizona on Oct. 1, 2002.
The Cardinals, trailing 1-0 when they batted in the second inning Monday, got singles from Craig and Yadier Molina ahead of an RBI double by David Freese.
Descalso added an RBI single, Skip Schumaker drove in another run with a fielder's choice groundout, and Jon Jay capped the rally with a two-out RBI single.
Craig tacked on a run for reliever Lance Lynn with his solo homer with two out in the third.
After Descalso's homer in the fourth, the Cards ran their way to another run. Pete Kozma followed Descalso's homer with a walk, and raced from first to third on a sacrifice bunt by Lance Lynn.
Kozma scored from third on Jay's grounder to second, where a drawn-in Danny Espinosa booted it trying to make a quick throw to the plate. Jay was credited with an RBI on the grounder.
Jay made the defensive play of the series in the sixth, racing to the center-field wall and leaping to snare Espinosa's bid for an extra base hit. He tumbled to the ground after colliding with the wall, but held the ball aloft with his bare hand to indicate he'd caught it cleanly.
The double by Freese in the second marked the first RBI hit of the series for the Cardinals, who had only three hits and scored their two runs Sunday on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, when Beltran hesitated on a throw to the plate.
The Cardinals' right fielder was slow to make a throw home following a Washington basehit with a runner at second base.
On the liner, hit by Washington pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, Beltran caught it on the bounce and held it as he ran in toward the infield. The hesitation allowed Ian Desmond to score from second on the play, racing home ahead of Beltran's tardy throw to the plate.
Washington got two runs closer on back-to-back home runs by Ran Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche in the fifth, making it 7-3.
After Beltran's homer in the sixth, putting St. Louis ahead 8-3, the Nationals used two hits and a sacrifice fly to creep one run closer in the seventh.
The Redbirds put the game beyond reach in the eighth. Pete Kozma doubled and Jay hit an RBI triple before Beltran's second homer of the game. Matt Holliday walked and Craig doubled into left, where Michael Morse bobbled the ball as Holliday scored.
St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia gave up two hits and walked three in his two innings. He threw 51 pitches before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the second. Lynn took over on the mound in the top of the third.
The Cardinals are trying to avoid a 2-0 deficit going into three games in Washington Wednesday-Friday, concluding the best-of-five series.
"Winning at home is critical," Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said two hours before the 3:37 p.m. start Monday at Busch Stadium. "Today is a very important game for us."
Cards learn Game 3 gametime
Game 3 of the NLDS will be played at 12:07 p.m. CDT Wednesday in Washington, Major League Baseball said Monday afternoon.
The game will be televised on the MLB Network, and broadcast on KMOX-AM 1120 and WXOS-FM 101.1.
Fans need to check their cable package to see if they get MLB programming. If not, their only alternative will be a bar or restaurant that gets the package, or listening on the radio.