Batting in the cleanup spot for the first time since Tino Martinez and Garrett Stephenson were Cardinals seemed to agree with Albert Pujols. But it didn't seem to do much to jump start struggling St. Louis slugger Matt Holliday, which was sort of the point of the switcheroo.
Pujols was 3-for-3 in the Birds' 6-2 win over Washington. But Holliday was 0-for-3 with a walk and three runners stranded on base from Pujols's familiar third spot in the batting order.
On the whole, the switch didn't seem to do a lot for the Cardinals as a whole, either. The team scored four runs in the first with two outs. But then the offense completely shut down until the bottom of the eighth, putting the team in jeopardy on several occasions of coughing up the lead.
In the top of the fifth, the Nationals got three straight hits off St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse to cut the lead to 4-1 with runners on second and third with no one out. A strikeout, a run scoring groundout and a pop-up got the Cardinals off the hook with a 4-2 advantage.
There was more trouble in the top of the seventh when Lohse let the first two Nationals reach base. Trever Miller relieved and, after a sacrifice, got the second out on a popup. Jason Motte came in and had to face Adam Dunn with the tying run on base and, after a long battle, struck Dunn out.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Pujols
Cardinals Play of the Game: For importance in the determination of who would win the game, the call goes to Motte's strikeout of Dunn. But style points go to Ryan Ludwick who made a headlong diving catch in the ninth to rob a Washington batter of an extra base hit.
Lowlight: Felipe Lopez came off the DL to take over at short and give the Birds a boost of offense. But it was more of the same as he wore the collar at the plate. Of course, he's probably a little bit rusty after a three-week layoff.