ST. LOUIS —
“One of the best catches I’ve seen. I think it’s his best catch of the year,” Matheny said. “He barely looked up as he was hitting the wall. Very impressive.”
St. Louis was 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position during Game 1 and totaled just three hits, but the Cardinals had five hits in a four-run second Monday. Descalso hit his first postseason homer in the fourth, a day after getting robbed by Jayson Werth’s leaping catch at the right-field wall. Beltran’s drive off Gonzalez in the sixth banged off the facade in the third deck in left, estimated at 444 feet.
“I hope I never see this offense again,” Johnson said to much laughter in the postgame interview room.
Shadows creeped past the pitcher’s mound around the third inning and didn’t seem to be as big of an issue in Game 2, which started 1 1/2 hours later than the opener. Both teams had issues with the playing conditions after the opener.
Late last season, after complaints from Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman, the Cardinals said they’d try not to schedule late afternoon games that might be affected.
Nationals rookie Bryce Harper went 1 for 5 and struck out four times. He also was thrown out at third base on an ill-advised attempt to advance. He is 1 for 10 in the series with six strikeouts.
“Do I look overanxious? You think so?” he said to one reporter. “Maybe you should be a hitting coach.”
Zimmermann lasted a season-low three innings while pitching on eight days’ rest. His next-shortest outing this year also was against the Cardinals, when he coughed up a four-run, first-inning cushion and was chased after yielding eight runs in 3 2-3 innings during a 10-9 loss at home.
The numbers weren’t favorable for the 25-year-old right-hander prior to first pitch, given he’s 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in five career regular-season starts against the Cardinals. They were 3 for 5 with runners in scoring position against a pitcher who led the majors by holding opponents to a .160 average.