It was more of an adventure than it needed to be. But the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday were able to sneak out of the ballpark with a 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals.
St. Louis starting pitcher Lance Lynn threw 5 2/3 strong innings, allowing one run on five hits and three walks. He struck out five. The only run the Nationals scored against Lynn was a solo homer, although he got into trouble in the bottom of the sixth and had to be bailed out with the bases load and two out.
Lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist shut the door and the bullpen was solid until closer Trevor Rosenthal came apart with one out in the ninth.
After retiring the lead-off batter on a pop-up, Rosenthal inexplicably walked the next man on four pitches to bring the tying run to the plate. Speedster Denard Span grounded back to the mound and, with shortstop Jhonny Peralta pointing to first base, Rosenthal instead went to second. There was no way, even if the throw was on time, that the Cardinals could have turned the double play to get span. Unfortunately, the throw wasn't on time. And Washington had the winning run at the plate with one out.
The fiasco wasn't yet over.
Rosenthal BALKED to send runners to second and third and give the Nationals a chance to tie the game with a single to the outfield.
Fortunately, after a visit from pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, Rosenthal settled. He got one out on a sacrifice that made the score 4-3 and had to face Jayson Werth with the game on the line. Rosenthal got back to his bread and butter and threw three fastballs past Werth to end the game.
The Cardinals scored the bulk of their runs in the second inning when Allen Craig walked with one out and then Jhonny Peralta reached on an error. Kolten Wong made the second out and then catcher Tony Cruz singled in a pair to make it 2-0 and Lance Lynn helped himself to add the third run with a line drive double to right.
Matt Carpenter scored on a two-out single in the seventh to add the fourth St. Louis run.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Lynn. He departed early after getting into trouble in the sixth. But he turned in a good start AND drove in what would turn out to be the deciding run with a two-out double.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Rosenthal's strikeout or Werth.
Lowlight: Rosenthal's troubling struggles in the ninth inning.