Saturday’s Nationals-Cardinals discussion space

Welcome to MASN’s discussion space for tonight’s Nationals-Cardinals game at Nationals Park. I’ll have updates and analysis here throughout the night, and if you want to participate, leave your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll respond to you there. If there are enough of you interested in chatting on a Saturday night, speak up in the comments section and we’ll go live.

7:15: The last time Livan Hernandez pitched, he had a rough night on the mound, lasting just 4 1/3 innings and allowing seven runs. Tonight hasn’t started much better. Albert Pujols hit a flat curveball down the left field line for a double that looked about as close to the chalk as Adam Kennedy’s would-be double last night. That scored a run, and set up Jon Jay for a two-run homer into the second deck in right field. It’s 3-0 Cardinals after one.

7:27: It was a better second inning for Hernandez, who got three quick outs and needed just 11 pitches to do it.

7:34: We’re seeing a small resurgence from Michael Morse, who had a pair of extra-base hits last night. He doubled off the wall in right center here in the second inning, and just scored on Ivan Rodriguez’s single. It’s 3-1 Cardinals now.

8:01: What a wild third inning. The Nationals got a pair of base hits from Livan Hernandez and Adam Kennedy, and both of them appeared to score on Kyle Lohse’s throwing error, which let Desmond get all the way to third as the ball got away from Albert Pujols. Not so fast; first-base umpire Rob Drake called Desmond out for running outside the three-foot lane at first base. From there, mayhem ensued; first-base coach Dan Radison was ejected for arguing with Drake. Manager Jim Riggleman came out to argue, Kennedy and third-base coach Pat Listach were arguing with umpires and Scott Olsen was ejected for saying something from the dugout. And after all that, Hernandez and Kennedy were sent back to their bases. No matter; Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Michael Morse all came through with base hits, ensuring the Nationals got Hernandez and Kennedy home - and two more runs for their troubles. They lead 5-3 in the fourth, and their new lineup appears to be working.

8:20: 5-4 Nationals now; Hernandez has given up two hits to the eighth and ninth hitters in the Cardinals’ lineup, and there are none out heading into the top of the lineup.

8:26: This game has much more in common with Thursday’s 11-10 slugfest than last night’s 4-2 Cardinals win. It’s tied at five in the fifth inning, after Felipe Lopez brought in the tying run with a double. But Lopez got picked off to end the inning.

8:39: Turns out Adam Dunn’s premonition about a big night was only a day off. He just crushed a three-run homer to center field to put the Nationals up 8-5 in the fifth. Dunn has five RBI tonight, and for all his struggles, still has eight homers this month.

9:12: Hey, it’s Mike MacDougal! The former Nationals closer is in the game for the Cardinals, and worked a perfect seventh.

9:30: Good night for Morse; he just singled to right for his career-high fourth hit of the game. The Nationals have runners on first and third with none out in the eighth.

9:32: And now they’re pulling away. Ivan Rodriguez singled to right, and a throwing error from MacDougal on Nyjer Morgan’s sacrifice bunt loaded the bases. 9-5 Nationals, and still none out in the eighth.

9:34: The Nationals have officially split this thing open - though not without more drama on the basepaths. Willie Harris’ pinch-hit double scored two runs, and as Nyjer Morgan was coming home, he collided with catcher Bryan Anderson, knocking him off course at home plate. Morgan went to celebrate with his teammates, who told him he didn’t touch home plate. Ivan Rodriguez pushed Morgan back toward home, and he touched the base before Anderson could tag him. But Bellino called Morgan out because he had help. It’s 11-5 Nationals now, but it will be interesting to hear about some of the calls in this one.

9:40: And now Bernadina homers, hitting his second in three games. This is a complete romp. It’s 14-5 now, and the Nationals have scored their most runs at a home game since coming to the District.

9:54: This one’s over. The Nationals win 14-5, and have at least a split against the Cardinals. Nice win for them at the end of a tough week. I’ll have more in a little bit.