The St. Louis Cardinals have got to be scratching their heads. What happened? Was it the return of Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman? Was it the opening of the Shake Shack at Nationals Park? Whatever it was, the NL Central leading team was left without solid answers as the Nationals rallied to a 8-6 win at Nationals Park.
The Nationals were down 6-2 in the seventh-inning when they took some frustration out on former Nationals reliever Miguel Batista. The Nationals rallied and scored five runs off Batista, sparked by a Zimmerman RBI double. Batista did not help his own cause loading the bases twice, hitting Roger Bernadina with a pitch and walking in the go ahead run. Pitcher Henry Rodriguez ended up getting the win while Drew Storen recorded his 16th save of the season.
On his return, Zimmerman went 1-for-5 with a RBI, second baseman Danny Espinosa had a big night going 3-for-5 with a RBI and right fielder Jayson Werth tacked on a insurance run in the seventh going 2-for-4 with a RBI and a walk. On the other side of the ball, Nationals starter Yunesky Maya once again had trouble only going four innings giving up six runs on nine hits. One has to think the Nationals will not have much more patience waiting for him to get it together, not with how well the rest of the rotation is doing.
Center fielder Rick Ankiel left the game in the second-inning after suffering a intercostal strain (rib cage).
The Nationals move to 31-36 and are slowly closing the gap on the fourth place New York Mets in the NL East.