The Bottom Line:

– The Washington Nationals (79-51) defeated the St. Louis (71-60) Cardinals by a score of 8-1 on Thursday night.

Jaime Garcia threw only 5.1 innings, allowing 6 earned runs on 9 hits. He was relieved by Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn and Edward Mujica.

-The Nats Edwin Jackson was dominant, throwing 8 innings and allowing only 4 hits, while striking out 10 Cardinals.

Matt Holliday recorded his 1500th major league hit in the first inning, a 2-out infield single that deflected off of National’s pitcher Edwin Jackson.

Bryce Harper hit his 15th home run of the year for the Nats, a first inning 2-run shot off of Garcia. It was only Garcia’s 4th home run allowed all year. Harper went 2-5 with 3 RBI on the night, the second straight 3-RBI game for the Nats youngster.

Jayson Werth paced the National’s offense, going 2 for 4 with a walk and a 5th inning solo homer while scoring 3 runs.

Yadier Molina returned to the lineup, but went 0 for 2 with a walk. Molina took a off target fastball off his right knee and was removed in the 7th inning.

Garcia struggled with his command from the start. He labored through the 1st, 3rd, and 5th innings, loading the bases in the 3rd inning before allowing an Adam Laroche sac fly for a 3-0 Nationals lead. He allowed two Nats home runs, a 2-run shot by Harper and the solo shot by Jayson Werth. Garcia’s counterpart, Jackson, was dominate throughout and left the suddenly hapless Card’s offense flailing.

The Cards threatened in the 4th inning with runners on first and third and 2 outs. But Rafael Furcal swung swung at a high and inside fastball, popping out weakly to shortstop and the Cards failed to score. Furcal also left the game in the 6th inning after making a short throw to second base. He winced and grabbed his right elbow in pain and was replaced by Daniel Descalso. The Cards have dealt with Raffy on the DL before this season, but it is certainly not a positive for Card’s fans. CardsBlog will keep you updated as more information becomes available. For now, the team is calling it a ‘right elbow strain’. For an offense that has been lethal for much of the year, the Redbirds have run into some tough pitching during this roadtrip. There are simply too many good hitters in the lineup for the team-wide offensive slump to continue much longer. The Washington Post called the Cardinals a “sleeping giant” before the series began, and with the Redbirds preparing for the Nats gauntlet of aces (Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and Stephen Strasburg) in the final 3 games of the series, Cards fans would certainly hope the lineup wakes up soon.

What’s Next:

The Cards play the second game of their 4-game set in Washington on Friday night. Adam Wainwright (13-10, 3.63) takes on Gio Gonzalez (16-7, 3.28) in a fantastic pitching matchup. Start time is 6:05 CST and can be seen on FS-M and heard on KMOX 1120, with all pre-game and post-game information right here on CardsBlog.