Escobar's HR in 10th lifts Nationals over Cardinals 2-1

WASHINGTON (AP) - Yunel Escobar homered to left with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, then celebrated with a head-first slide into home plate, lifting the Washington Nationals to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

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It was the second homer of the season for Escobar, who was supposed to be Washington's second baseman but is filling in at third base while Anthony Rendon is on the disabled list.

Escobar connected with the first pitch he saw from Carlos Villanueva (1-1), the seventh pitcher for the Cardinals, who had won five consecutive games.

The Nationals have won five of their past six games to get back to .500 after starting the year 2-6.

Aaron Barrett (2-0) earned the win by pitching the 10th.

He worked around a leadoff single and stolen base by Pete Kozma - forever associated around these parts with the Cardinals' 2012 NL Division Series Game 5 comeback.

Thanks to Bryce Harper's RBI single in the third - when he also wound up getting doubled off base on an appeal - the Nationals led 1-0 heading into the ninth inning.

But Nationals closer Drew Storen blew the save. Matt Carpenter led off with a single, took second on a wild pitch, and advanced again when Storen bounced a third-strike pitch to Jason Heyward. Matt Holliday tied the game 1-all with an RBI single to left, making him 4 for 4 plus a walk, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn gave up one run in 6 1-3 innings.

In the third, Ian Desmond doubled and scored on Harper's single to left. The inning then ended on the oddest of double plays: Ryan Zimmerman flied out to deep center, and Harper - who had rounded second - was called out on appeal for not touching second base on his way back to first.

Gio Gonzalez managed to keep the Cardinals off the scoreboard despite giving up eight hits and four walks in six innings. It helped that St. Louis had left 12 men on base entering the ninth.


Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia is scheduled to throw a simulated game Saturday, his first in a month. He began the season on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left shoulder.

Nationals: 3B Rendon (sprained left knee) played three innings at extended spring training and could be headed out on a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Friday. "That's the plan, anyway," manager Matt Williams said, adding that Rendon's knee "does get a little stiff, but the pain has subsided, so that's a real good sign." ... RHP Casey Janssen (right shoulder inflammation) has still not progressed to throwing off a mound as part of his program in Florida.


Cardinals RHP John Lackey (1-0, 2.77 ERA) is one strikeout shy of 1,800 for his career heading into Wednesday's game, his first start against the Nationals since 2008, when he was a member of the Angels. He'll face Nationals RHP Doug Fister (1-0, 0.69). In 2013, they were opponents in the AL Championship Series, although never pitched against each other, as Lackey's Red Sox beat Fister's Tigers in six games.


The MLB Network's broadcast of Cardinals-Nationals represented the in-game debut of Statcast tracking technology, which uses stereoscopic cameras and radar sensors to monitor elements such as a batter's exit velocity, a pitcher's spin rate and perceived velocity, an infielder's reaction time, and an outfielder's route efficiency. One example: When CF Jon Jay tracked down Zimmerman's fly in the third, Statcast showed he ran 27.3 feet, with a top speed of 17 mph.


The Cardinals brought up reliever Mitch Harris, a 2008 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, from Triple-A Memphis. The Hall of Fame said it believes the only Naval Academy graduate to appear in a major league game was pitcher Nemo Gaines, who made four relief appearances in 1921 with the Washington Senators. Harris did not get into Tuesday's game.

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