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Final Score: Cardinals 10 Nationals 9

The Bottom Line:

— The St. Louis Cardinals (72-60) defeated the Washington Nationals (80-52) by a score of 10-9 on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals temporarily move back to one game ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second slot in the National League wild card race.

Kyle Lohse gave up 7 runs (only 4 earned) over 5 2/3 innings pitched. He gave up 9 hits, struck out 4, and did not record a walk.

Matt Holliday and Daniel Descalso suffered two costly errors which contributed to an early 4-0 deficit that the Cards had to overcome. The Cardinals arguably had more unscored errors throughout the afternoon.

— The Cardinals got some offense from Matt Holliday and David Freese who hit their 25th and 18th home runs, respectively.

Matt Carpenter, who is dealing with a sprained ankle injury, hit a three-run double in the fourth inning to give the Cardinals a 7-6 lead.

— Down 9-8 in the eighth, Carlos Beltran had an RBI-single to tie the game at 9-9. The Cardinals then took the lead in the ninth when David Freese drove in Allen Craig with his third hit of the afternoon.

Whatever. I’ll take it. This was a sloppy, sloppy game. Perhaps an exciting one, but not ideal. I’m glad to see the Cards come away with a victory, but there is still some serious improvement that needs to happen with this team and fast.

We all know the Cards entered the game having score zero earned runs in their last 39 innings, so that’s great that their lineup seemed to come alive at least temporarily on Saturday afternoon. But what is happening with our starting pitching? After being so effective for the first three weeks of August, Cardinals’ starters have been unable to pitch more than six innings throughout the last seven games.

In other news, the Cardinals promoted LHP Sam Freeman on Friday to add some more depth and another lefty to a bullpen which has been struggling as of late. He did not pitch on Saturday…Lance Berkman was activated from the disabled list on Saturday as well, but is not expected to start at any time soon. He is more likely to be pinch-hitting and will be pinch-run for whenever he reaches base…Lastly, Rafael Furcal is being given an aggressive rehab of 4-6 weeks in an attempt to avoid surgery on his UCL which would generally keep him out for 6-8 months.

What’s Next: The Cardinals will conclude their four game series with the Nationals on Sunday afternoon at 12:35 PM CST. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest and as always, pre and post game information can be found on CardsBlog. Go Cards.

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