Furcal, Cards' Offense Hurting; Nationals 8, Cardinals 1; Shortstop's Elbow Injury Could End His Season; Redbirds Follow Being Shut out Twice by Scoring Only an Unearned Run

By Strauss, Joe | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 31, 2012 | Go to article overview

Furcal, Cards' Offense Hurting; Nationals 8, Cardinals 1; Shortstop's Elbow Injury Could End His Season; Redbirds Follow Being Shut out Twice by Scoring Only an Unearned Run


Strauss, Joe, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


WASHINGTON - The Washington Nationals got well Thursday night. The Cardinals fell heavily into a world of hurt.

Perhaps their worst night of the summer hung an 8-1 loss on the Cardinals and probably subtracted their starting shortstop for the remainder of the season.

When the night's highlight is employing an unearned run to interrupt a string of 28 scoreless frames, it's not a good thing.

When a previously reliable rotation fails to muster a six-inning start for a fifth straight game, it's a worrisome thing. When shortstop Rafael Furcal is booked on an early-morning flight to St. Louis because he can no longer straighten his right elbow, it's a downright depressing thing.

The Cardinals' adventure at Nationals Park even saw key reserve Matt Carpenter sprain his right ankle turning a double play during pregame practice.

Furcal's injury and the offense's malaise overshadowed a difficult start for lefthander Jaime Garcia, who trailed 2-0 after his eighth pitch and surrendered six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Speaking of Furcal, Garcia said, "It's sad. It's disappointing, especially a guy like that. He's been huge for us all year. Let's hope for the best. Hopefully, he only has to miss the next couple of days."

Hope suddenly is becoming an increasingly expensive commodity for the Cardinals, who now seek to rediscover power within their offense and consistency within their starting rotation.

Garcia (3-6) allowed nine hits and two walks. Nats rookie center fielder Bryce Harper provided an instant lead when he pulled Garcia's second strike of the game for a two-run home run into the home team's bullpen. Leadoff hitter Jayson Werth scored after reaching in his first three plate appearances, which included a fifth-inning home run for a 4-0 lead.

"In general these guys have been extremely durable and able to go long into the game. I just think it's a blip on the screen right now," manager Mike Matheny said. "I imagine tomorrow it's going to change."

Former teammate Edwin Jackson (8-9) administered the wipeout with eight dominant innings. He struck out 10 and allowed only four hits. The Cardinals spoiled his shutout when catcher Bryan Anderson opened the eighth inning with a double and scored on Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's wild throw on Jon Jay's infield single.

"Jackson did exactly what he wanted to do, and then some," Matheny said. "The offense did what they wanted."

Third baseman David Freese described Jackson's outing as the most dominant he had faced this season.

"We've run into a bit of a bad spell," said left fielder Matt Holliday, whose infield hit in the first inning was the 1,500th hit of his career. …

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