St. Louis took control with a three-run second inning fueled by third baseman Anthony Rendon’s throwing error, capped by Lynn’s first career extra-base hit. The Nationals, under former Gold Glove third baseman Williams, are averaging more than an error per game and lead the majors in miscues.
“I feel like we made a mistake, a couple of minor mistakes that cost us, but we were in the game,” Williams said.
Trevor Rosenthal worked the ninth for his fifth save, but not without difficulty. Washington put runners on second and third with one out, and Kevin Frandsen drove in a run with a groundout before Rosenthal struck out Jayson Werth on three pitches.
Frandsen was batting in Harper’s spot in the lineup.
“Kevin Frandsen put on a nice ‘AB’ against Rosenthal,” Williams said, “but (Harper’s) spot came up with the ability to win the game. And that’s a shame for his teammates.”
Said Harper: “Man, that’s tough to watch, not being able to be up there in that situation. It’s something that I thrive on and I want to be in. You know, it’s in the past and there’s nothing we can do about it now.”
Williams said Harper would start today in the series finale.
Espinosa homered for the Nationals, but he was the only player to get past first base against Lynn until the sixth.
Zimmermann (1-1) allowed four runs, only one of them earned, in seven innings. He struck out six and walked two after coming in with a 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA in six career games against the Cardinals.
Zimmermann took the loss but probably deserved a better fate. The right-hander has beaten every NL team except St. Louis and Pittsburgh (one start).
St. Louis bolted in front for good in the second inning. After Rendon threw wide on a potential force play at second, Cruz sliced a two-out, two-run single to right field and scored on a double by Lynn. It was the pitcher’s first extra-base hit in 115 career at-bats and his fourth RBI.