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Nationals vs. Cardinals: Washington loses 10-4 to St. Louis, fails to clinch NL East title

The Washington Nationals failed to clinch the National League East division title on Sunday, losing 10-4 to the Cardinals in St. Louis.

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Nats fall 10-4 in St. Louis, fail to win NL East

The Washington Nationals (96-63) failed to clinch the National League East division title on Sunday, losing 10-4 to the Cardinals (86-73) in St. Louis.

Lefthander Ross Detwiler struggled on the mound for Washington, allowing seven runs (three earned) in just 2⅓ innings pitched, walking five while striking out only three St. Louis batters. Detwiler threw 81 pitches in the 2⅓ innings, just 43 of which were strikes. Chien-Ming Wang did not fare much better in relief of Detwiler, allowing three hits and two earned runs in 2⅓ innings of work.

The Cardinals received big days from veteran star Carlos Beltran and relatively unknown shortstop Pete Kozma, each contributing three hits apiece. Two of Beltran's three knocks were home runs. The Cardinals inched closer to the NL Playoffs with the victory on Sunday.

The Nationals return home on Monday night to face the Philadelphia Phillies in the last series of the season.

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Nats can earn first NL East title with victory

For the first time in franchise history, the Washington Nationals will have a chance to clinch a National League East Division title on Sunday. The Nationals (96-62) earned an extra-inning victory, 6-4, on Saturday night over their hosts the St. Louis Cardinals (85-73), shrinking their magic number to cement a NL East crown to just one game. Washington's playoff destiny is in their own hands in the series finale at Busch Stadium.

However, the Nats, who have already clinched at least a NL Wild Card berth, are not the only team trying to help their postseason chances. The Cards hold just a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Wild Card race, and a victory would help St. Louis shrink its magic number to clinch to one with three games to play.

Ross Detwiler (10-7) will take the mound for Washington as he opposes St. Louis' Lance Lynn (17-7). Detwiler has earned just one win in his last four starts, his last featuring five runs on five hits in five innings of work. Meanwhile, Lynn has won his last three starts, limiting opponents to 13 hits and two earned runs in 19⅓ innings.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on MASN.

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Nats clip Cards, 6-4 in 10 innings

The Washington Nationals moved one step closer to clinching the NL East with a 6-4 victory in 10 innings over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night at Busch Stadium.

Washington scored four runs in the first inning thanks to a grand slam off the bat of Michael Morse. The play was under review for quite some time but was ultimately ruled a home run, giving the Nats a nice cushion.

However, the Cardinals would score three in the seventh on a Pete Kozma two-run double and Jon Jay RBI single. In the ninth, Drew Storen couldn't hold the lead as Jay connected on a game-tying sacrifice fly.

In extras, Washington would strike once more, as they scored two runs in the tenth to salt the game away on a clutch Kurt Suzuki double that drove in a pair.

Jordan Zimmermann received a no-decision after throwing six and one-thirds innings while allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks.

Kyle Lohse terrific after the first inning, pitching six frames and surrendering four runs on eight hits while striking out nine.

The win reduced Washington's magic number to win the division to one. The Nationals have a chance to clinch the division Sunday afternoon as Ross Detwiler starts against Lance Lynn.

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Nationals vs. Cardinals preview

After Edwin Jackson didn't make it out of the second inning of Friday's 12-2 loss to St. Louis, the Nationals will turn to Jordan Zimmermann in a game that could potentially clinch the division title for Washington. Despite Friday's loss, the Nats' magic number was reduced to two after Atlanta fell to New York. A combination of a Washington win and a Braves loss would clinch the division title.

Zimmermann is 12-8 with a 2.90 ERA on the season for Washington. After a late August slump that had some questioning his health, Zimmerman is 3-0 in his last four starts, allowing only six runs in that span. His last start against St. Louis was on Sept. 1st, where he struggled to get out of the fourth while allowing eight runs.

The Cardinals will counter with Kyle Lohse, who makes his last start of the regular season. Lohse is 16-3 with a 2.77 ERA. He was Zimmermann's counterpart in that Sept. 1 game, and allowed eight runs of his own.

First pitch is at 7:15 and the game will be televised on MASN 2.

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Edwin Jackson shelled in Nats loss

Edwin Jackson failed to get out of the second inning, and the Nationals couldn't gain any traction against Adam Wainwright as St. Louis cruised to a 12-2 victory at Busch Stadium Friday night. Washington got on the board first, as Adam LaRoche knocked in Bryce Harper in the top of the first, but that was the end of the good news for the Nats.

Jackson struggled early, as seven of St. Louis' first eight batters reached base. Jackson gave up four hits and walked two, and an error by Ryan Zimmerman ended any chance that Washington had to get out of the inning with minimal damage. By the time Wainwright grounded into a double play to end the inning, the Nats found themselves down 5-1. Jackson actually fared worse in the second, allowing three hits, while giving up two walks and throwing two wild pitches. The parting shot was a two-run homer by Yadier Molina that stretched the lead to 9-1 and brought Tom Gorzelanny into the game with only one out.

Meanwhile, Wainwright cruised through his six innings, striking out five. Roger Bernadina hit a solo shot in the seventh off of Joe Kelly, but that would end the scoring for Washington. The Cardinals would add three more off Mike Gonzalez in the eighth.

Despite the loss, Washington's magic number to clinch the division title was lowered to two as Atlanta lost to New York. The Nats will send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound Saturday against Kyle Lohse.

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Nats run out regular lineup for series opener

With the National League East title well within his sights, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson has sent out his regular lineup to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a three-game weekend series. The Nationals lead the Atlanta Braves by four games in the divisional race with just six games left to play. The Cardinals have postseason ambitions of their own, as they lead the Los Angeles Dodgers in the race for the second National League wild card spot by three games with six to play.

Washington Nationals (95-61)

1. Jayson Werth, RF
2. Bryce Harper, CF
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
5. Michael Morse, LF
6. Ian Desmond, SS
7. Danny Espinosa, 2B
8. Kurt Suzuki, C
9. Edwin Jackson, P

St. Louis Cardinals (84-72)

1. Jon Jay, CF
2. Matt Carpenter, 3B
3. Matt Holliday, LF
4. Allen Craig, 1B
5. Yadier Molina, C
6. Carlos Beltran, RF
7. Daniel Descalso, 2B
8. Pete Kozma, SS
9. Adam Wainwright, P

First pitch of Friday night's game is at 8:15 p.m. The game can be seen on MASN2 and heard on 106.7 The Fan, WFED-AM 1500 and WHFS-AM 1580

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