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Jul 5, 2024 2:46 am

Cardinals carry momentum into set at Washington

Cardinals, pirates

After picking up wins on Thursday, the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals are ready to face off for the first time this season as they begin a four-game series in the nation’s capital on Friday.

The Nationals enter fresh off a series split with the visiting New York Mets, while the Cardinals won a three-game road series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Washington has lost seven of its past 10 games, but the Nationals appear to be stringing together some momentum. They rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Mets 7-5 on Wednesday and followed up with a quality outing from Jake Irvin to win a 1-0 pitchers’ duel on Thursday.

“It was big. We lost the first two games, and the way we won the third and fourth was awesome,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “Now, we’ve got the Cardinals coming in and we have to stay hungry.

“I could tell you the energy (Thursday) was unbelievable from the dugout the whole game. Guys were fired up every time Jake came in the dugout, and it felt like it was only a matter of time.”

Irvin tossed eight innings of one-hit ball, and Derek Law fired a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his first save.

The Cardinals have won three of their past four games, including a 3-2, 10-inning win on Thursday to take the series against the Pirates.

It was a nice revenge win for St. Louis, which fell to Pittsburgh in 10 innings the day before. Despite having a short bullpen to work with due to recent workloads, the Cardinals got by using two relievers Andrew Kittredge and John King, who combined to throw three innings and yield just one run, which was unearned.

St. Louis is comfortable in tight battles, as indicated by a 16-12 record in games decided by one run. The Cardinals have also won 12 of their last 13 series-closing games.

“Everyone’s grinding, another close one, it’s good we came out on top,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It’s important. You feel good heading to the next city.

“Mood-wise, just all of it, it carries you through. Especially it’s hot out there, guys are grinding, and we have a lot of guys that like playing every day, so being able to win that last game of a series, go to a new city, you feel good about it.”

Washington’s Patrick Corbin (1-8, 5.49 ERA) will try to build off Irvin’s gem, though he is winless in his past nine starts. His lone victory of the season came on May 10 against the Boston Red Sox. Most recently, he allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings during a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

In his eight career appearances against the Cardinals, Corbin is 2-2 with a 3.64 ERA, though he hasn’t faced St. Louis since 2021.

The Cardinals will turn to veteran Sonny Gray (9-5, 2.98). Gray surrendered six runs, three earned, in 4 1/3 innings during his latest appearance, a 9-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Gray is 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the Nationals. He excels pitching at Nationals Park, boasting a 2-0 record and a 1.64 ERA in two starts.

Like Corbin, Gray will be pitching against his Friday opponent for the first time since 2021.

–Field Level Media

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