Nationals fall short against Cardinals

Nationals fall short against Cardinals

CARDINALS 9, NATIONALS 3
at Jupiter, Fla.
Wednesday, March 22

Nationals at the plate: Alfonso Soriano doubled, walked and drove in a run. Kenny Kelly came off the bench to deliver a two-run single. Ryan Zimmerman singled and walked.

Cardinals at the plate: David Eckstein remained hot with two hits and two RBIs. Albert Pujols doubled in two runs in his first game back from the World Baseball Classic, and Juan Encarnacion, also returning from the tournament, had two hits and two RBIs. John Rodriguez reached base three times, scored twice and drove in two runs, and starting pitcher Jason Marquis doubled and scored.

Nationals on the mound: Starter Kyle Denney was touched for four runs, three earned, on six hits in three innings, and reliever Gary Majewski was charged with five tallies in two-thirds of an inning. Steve Watkins delivered the pitching highlight with two perfect innings, including two strikeouts.

Cardinals on the mound: Jason Marquis breezed through his start, allowing one run and one hit in 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and no walks. Ricardo Rincon, Adam Wainwright and Jason Isringhausen all pitched scoreless relief.

Grapefruit League records: Nationals 5-17; Cardinals 11-8-1.

Up next: The Nationals return home to face the Orioles in Viera, Fla., on Thursday, with Ramon Ortiz starting against Bruce Chen at 1:05 p.m. ET. The Cardinals also go north, with a 1:05 p.m. start against the Dodgers at Vero Beach. That pitching matchup will feature Jeff Suppan against Jae Seo.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.