The Nationals needed just seven pitches to send the Nats Park crowd into a frenzy and to deliver a massive body blow to the Cardinals.
Adam Wainwright, who struck out 10 and gave up just a single run in his Game 1 outing against the Nats, gave up a double to Jayson Werth to open the bottom of the first, a shot ripped down the left field line to get things started.
Bryce Harper, who had gone just 1-for-18 over the first four games of the series, then crushed a triple off the center field wall, bringing Werth in to put the Nationals on top.
Harper, who has tried everything to snap out of his slump this series, switched up his walk-up music, going back to “Bring Sally Up” before his first-inning at-bat. He should probably stick with that one for a while.
Two pitches after Harper’s triple, Ryan Zimmerman took an 86 mph cutter on the outer half and drove it just over the scoreboard in right-center, giving the Nats a 3-0 lead and pushing the decibel levels into a new stratosphere.
After a visit from pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, Wainwright settled down, striking out Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse and Ian Desmond to get out of the inning, but a good amount of damage had already been done.
The Nats lead 3-0, the crowd is very much into it and Gio Gonzalez has a cushion to work with after a scoreless first inning.
Update: The Nationals’ offense, which caught fire down the stretch but was in a rut the last few games, has awakened.
Harper (solo shot) and Morse (two-run shot) both went yard in the third inning, putting the Nats up 6-0 and knocking Adam Wainwright from the game after just 2 1/3 innings of work.
Harper’s shot was a laser into the right-center field bleachers, making him just the second teenager in major league history to homer in the postseason, joining Andruw Jones in that category.
Morse’s blast, which came two batters after a Zimmerman double, flew out into the Cardinals bullpen to give the Nats a nice six-run lead.
Gonzalez has looked really sharp through three innings of work, striking out four and allowing two hits. His curveball has been dynamite today, and he’s been able to locate his fastball fairly effectively. This could be the start of a special night in D.C.