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April 20: Nationals 8, Cardinals 6 (Game 1)

The St. Louis defense was iffy during the first game of a twi-night double-header Wednesday at Busch Stadium.

But there were no ifs and or buts about it - Jake Westbrook was terrible... again.

The St Louis starter could manage only seven innings, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits and a pair of walks. Most of the damage was done in a dreadful third inning that provided Washington with six runs in their 8-6 victory over the Cardinals.

The Redbirds got off on the wrong foot in the first when, with a runner on and one out, Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth practically bunted a ball through the second base hole when Tyler Greene left too early to cover a hit and run at second base. The infield defense gave Washington the gift of runners at first and third. Then it offered up another present by botching a double play that gave the Nats their first run and kept the inning going.

Greene made another error in the second that Westbrook was able to pitch around. But in the third shoddy defense and worse pitching combined to allow a blowup that included a Washington double steal of home and second to add insult to injury.

The Birds scored pecked away with solo homers by Albert Pujols and Colby Rasmus. Then they scored three in the sixth when Rasmus and Ryan Theriot collected RBI hits with two outs. But four double plays sunk other potential rallies and the Cardinals couldn't dig themselves out of the big hole they dug early in the game.

Fernando Salas was a bright spot. He pitched three innings and allowed only one hit -- a triple -- that was actually a ball that was misplayed by right fielder Lance Berkman.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Rasmus with two hits in five at bats and three RBIs.

Cardinals Play of the Game: Rasmus' two-run single in the sixth off a lefty reliever.

Lowlight: Westbrook's poor performance on the mound.