Even though the way St. Louis dropped its final Grapefruit League contest left Cardinals manager Mike Matheny a little sour, his overall impression of the club is positive.
Matheny charged out of the dugout to argue the safe call — a rarity in spring games.
The Cardinals had an opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, putting runners on the corners with two outs, but Ryan Mattheus struck out Matt Carpenter to end the game.
Jaime Garcia cruised through the first 5 2-3 innings for St. Louis, allowing only four hits. Danny Espinoza finally put the Nationals on the board with an opposite-field home run that sailed over the wall in right.
Washington starter Gio Gonzalez put two tough outings behind him by allowing one run on three hits and a walk while striking out seven in five innings. He retired the Cardinals in order the first time through the line-up.
St. Louis scored on back-to-back doubles by Tyler Greene and Carlos Beltran in the fourth.
The Cardinals finish spring training with a 16-9-2 record. They will travel to Springfield, Mo., to scrimmage against their Double-A affiliate Monday before returning to Florida to open the season against Miami on Wednesday.
Washington (12-15-3) still has two more spring training games remaining, both against Boston.