WASHINGTON — Yadier Molina drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, backing Shelby Miller’s strong start Monday night, and the St. Louis Cardinals returned to the site of their Game 5 NL division series victory last season with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.
The other big hit for St. Louis was Allen Craig’s two-run double in the third.
Miller (3-1) struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits.
All the Cardinals’ runs came against Dan Haren (1-3), who gave up three runs and six hits in five-plus innings.
Edward Mujica pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save. The Cardinals have alternated wins and losses over their last nine games.
Washington has lost seven of 10.
The last time these teams played in Washington was Oct. 12, in Game 5 of an NLDS, when the Nationals led 6-0 after three innings and were still ahead 7-5 with two outs in the top of the ninth. But with then-closer Drew Storen on the mound, Washington allowed St. Louis to rally for four runs and a 9-7 victory that ended the Nationals’ season.
The last two runs scored on a hit by Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, who was booed during pregame introductions Monday and again when his name was announced before his first plate appearance, in the third inning.
He singled to right in that at-bat, the ball landing not too far from where his go-ahead hit landed in October. This time, it was part of a two-run inning, with Kozma and Matt Carpenter coming home on Craig’s double off the wall for a 2-0 lead.
Storen appeared in Monday’s game, too, coming in to throw the ninth with Washington down by a run. And wouldn’t you know it? The leadoff hitter was Kozma, although this time he struck out looking. Next up for Storen was pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso, whose two-run hit tied Game 5. Storen got him to pop out to third Monday, part of a 1-2-3 inning.