Welcome to MASN's discussion space for today's Nationals-Cardinals game at Nationals Park. I'll have updates and analysis throughout the day, and if you want to participate, leave your comments at the bottom of this post. I'll respond to you there, and we'll probably put a live chat into this window in the middle innings.
1:46: Roger Bernadina knocks a ground-rule double over the fence in center field. He's got six hits in this series, three of them for extra bases - and two of them for homers.
1:51: Check out Byron Kerr's story from pregame today on Jim Riggleman's benching of Nyjer Morgan for the day, and Morgan's response to it.
2:14: No one will ever mistake John Lannan for Carlos Zambrano or Micah Owings with a bat; he entered the day hitting just .059. But he came through in the bottom of the second for the Nationals, taking an Adam Wainwright sinker the other way for a two-run double. The surprise hit put the Nationals up 2-0, and doubled Lannan's RBI total for the season.
2:33: Michael Morse's tear continues. He's got hits in seven straight at-bats now, eight hits in the series, and just homered to left on the first pitch he saw from Adam Wainwright. It's 4-0 Nationals now, and Morse, like Bernadina, has double-digit homers. He's got 10 homers in 180 at-bats. Projected over 550 at-bats, that's 31 homers.
2:59: Lannan is cruising; he's put up zeros in five innings so far, and has nine ground ball outs in his last four innings, including two double plays. He continues to give the Nationals exactly what they need from him, and he's thrown just 60 pitches in five innings, whereas Wainwright is already into the mid-90s. Lannan's got a chance to get at least into the eighth inning today if he keeps this up.
3:06: Morse's seven at-bat hit streak is over - he stung a fly ball in the bottom of the fifth, but hit it right at Jon Jay in center.
3:12: Lannan strikes out Albert Pujols to end the sixth. He's at 69 pitches through six innings, needing only nine to get through the top of the Cardinals' order there. Very impressive.
3:29: The Cardinals pushed a run across the plate in the seventh, with Matt Holliday almost homering off Lannan and scoring on a couple groundouts. But Lannan has thrown 84 pitches in seven innings, and will have put in a very efficient day's work if he's done here.
3:37: Bad decision from Ian Desmond in the seventh inning, trying to advance from first to second on Roger Bernadina's flyout to right field. He was thrown out easily, and the Nationals' lead is still 4-1. Lannan will start the eighth, but I'd assume he'll come out at the first sign of trouble.
3:43: Lannan's done after 7 2/3 innings; he gave up a single to Aaron Miles, and now Jim Riggleman will get Drew Storen to face Albert Pujols.
3:49: And Pujols is down on strikes; Storen got him to chase a 2-2 slider in the dirt. That's not an easy feat - Pujols has struck out just 61 times this year. The Nationals head to the bottom of the eighth looking to add onto a 4-1 lead.
4:02: In a series where there's been confrontation brewing most of the time since Thursday, things could be about to boil over in the ninth inning. Drew Storen threw inside against Matt Holliday - whom he drilled in the wrist with a pitch on Thursday - and Holliday took exception to the pitch. Tony LaRussa was out for an extended argument, Storen got a warning and we're back underway after a conference between the umpires. Things just seem to happen with this umpiring crew.
4:06: Holliday sends a broken-bat grounder back at Storen, but after a deflection to Adam Kennedy, the Nationals get Holliday at first. One out in the ninth.
4:08: Pedro Feliz gets Holliday's revenge for him, blasting a 96-mph fastball into the Cardinals' bullpen and just beyond Willie Harris' leaping attempt. Storen's fastball was up in the zone; fastball command has been a problem for him from time to time.
4:12: Storen comes back with another hard slider to strike out Jon Jay, again getting him to chase a pitch in the dirt. Two outs in the ninth.
4:14: Error No. 29 for Ian Desmond, who couldn't get his glove down on a hard grounder from Yadier Molina.
4:15: There's that slider one more time: Storen strikes out Colby Rasmus to cap a 4-2 win for the Nationals, who took three of four from the Cardinals this weekend. Really impressive series after getting swept by the Cubs.