Strasburg dominant, Nats produce late to top Cards

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The Cardinals rallied in the seventh after Strasburg left with three hits against reliever Sean Burnett, including Daniel Descalso’s two-run homer.

Washington responded with four consecutive two-out singles against Lance Lynn (13-6). Desmond’s flare to center scored pinch-runner Eury Perez with the go-ahead run. Espinosa had three of the Nationals‘ 13 hits.

Ryan Mattheus (2-3) pitched 1 1-3 innings, allowing a run on Tony Cruz’s RBI double in the eighth. Tyler Clippard, the worked the ninth for his 29th save.

Lynn pitched one inning, allowing two runs on four hits for the Cardinals, who have lost five of six while trying to hold off Pittsburgh for the final NL wild-card berth.

Facing the Cardinals for the first time, Strasburg gave up Matt Holliday’s two-out double in the first. The All-Star ace held St. Louis without another hit until Holliday’s sixth-inning single.

“I just settled in a little bit,” Strasburg said. “That’s just getting out there, feeling your way through the first couple of innings. When you’ve got your pitches working, it’s just attack.”

Attack he did, fanning at least two hitters in four innings and regained the NL strikeout lead by whiffing St. Louis pitcher Jake Westbrook in the fifth. Strasburg walked one overall.

Strasburg did a great job of holding us down,” said Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay, twice a strikeout victim in three at-bats against Strasburg. “He had a good fastball and changeup. He kept us off-balance.”

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing error, a walk and a wild pitch put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth. Holliday attempted to score the game’s first run on Bryan Anderson’s shallow fly ball to right, but Bryce Harper easily threw him out at the plate for the final out.

Usually in center, Harper shifted to right with Jayson Werth scratched from the lineup minutes before the first pitch.

Suzuki, acquired in a trade with Oakland last month, stroked his third homer on the season in the bottom half. In the sixth, he tacked on a third consecutive single against Westbrook, which scored Desmond and ended Westbrook’s day.

Westbrook allowed two runs on nine hits with six strikeouts and one walk. He avoided his third loss in four starts when Descalso, the Cardinals number eight hitter, turned on a 3-1 pitch from Burnett for his fourth home run of the season.

NOTES: Strasburg also went 1 for 2. He is hitting .277. … Johnson removed Werth due to leg cramps which forced him to leave Saturday’s game in the ninth inning. … The Nationals open a four-game series Monday with Ross Detwiler facing Jeff Samardzija and the visiting Chicago Cubs. … St. Louis returns home Monday and has Joe Kelly facing Mets starter Collin McHugh.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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