Good, Bad & Ugly: Nats Drop Rain-Shortened Decision to Cards, 4-1

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Good, Bad & Ugly: Nats Drop Rain-Shortened Decision to Cards, 4-1
(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
"Easy way to get one [complete game]...They told me if I fly in early, I had to throw a CG and I did it." -- Adam Wainwright, St. Louis winning pitcher, July 23, 2009.

THE RESULT: Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals had little trouble securing their 52nd win this season against the Washington Nationals. Regardless, the downpours that struck the D.C. area last night also conspired against the home team, and the Nats dropped a 4-1 decision to the N.L. Central-leading Cardinals.

The game, a makeup of a May 3 contest postponed by rain, was called with one out in the top of the seventh after a 1-hour, 30-minute delay left the field unplayable. There was a 76-minute stoppage in the fourth inning.

It was the 16th Washington game interrupted by rain this season, and delays in those total 30 hours, 31 minutes.

Wainwright (W, 11-6, 2.95) was superb, as he has been all season. He went the distance—six innings—and surrendered eight hits and just one walk, striking out seven Nats hitters.

Washington got its only run in the bottom of the sixth, right before the final cloudbursts that ended the game. Adam Dunn led off with a double to right field and after two strikeouts, Alberto Gonzalez knocked him in with a double.

Collin Balester (L, 0-1, 6.00) started for the Nats and pitched three innings with mixed results. He allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk, striking out two. He gave up a solo home run to Rick Ankiel, his first home run since June 19.

And it wouldn't be a Nats game without another error. In the top of the first, Skip Schumaker doubled to lead off. Colby Rasmus then flied out to Dunn in left field, but Dunn dropped the ball after the catch, allowing Schumaker to advance to third.

Of course, he scored on a ground out from the next batter for an unearned run.

THE TAKEAWAY: Albert Pujols did not play. He has been given just two nights off all season by manager Tony La Russa. Both have been against the Nats.

THE GOOD: Adam Dunn. His dropped ball not withstanding, he went 3-for-3 with a run.

THE BAD: Ryan Zimmerman. Another o-fer. 0-for-3 with four runners stranded. Zim is now hitting just .280. Since his average topped out at .366 in the middle of his 30-game hitting streak on May 16, the Face of the Franchise has hit .220/.297/.344 in 249 plate appearances.

To give you an idea how bad that actually is, Austin Kearns is hitting .198/.333/.311 this season in 201 plate appearances.

THE UGLY: The weather. Tony La Russa said it best, "Mother Nature is always stronger than anybody." Washington is 0-5 in rain shortened games this season.

NEXT GAME: The next worst team in the National League (eight games in the loss column) visits Nationals Park for a three-game set. The San Diego Padres, owners of baseball's worst offense, travel east to face the league's worst pitching staff. Irresistible Force, meet Immovable Object.

Garrett Mock (0-3, 7.71), making his second start since his recall, hosts Mat Latos (0-1, 4.50), one of the Padres most promising youngsters, making his second major league start.
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