Adam Wainwright was unhappy with his location and his mechanics.
The St. Louis Cardinals' ace struggled in his second spring-training start, giving up five runs and eight hits over three innings Saturday in a 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.
Gio Gonzalez won his second exhibition start for the Nationals, allowing two runs and five hits in three innings.
Kurt Suzuki doubled off Wainwright leading off the second and scored on Chris Marrero's single. One out later. Anthony Rendon homered on a drive more than halfway up the batter's eye beyond the center-field wall.
Eury Perez singled and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Ronny Cedeno following Danny Espinoza's single. Chris Marrero added an RBI single in the third that put the Nationals ahead 5-1.
"There are two trains of thought. You go, well it's just spring training, I'm just getting used to things and working on stuff," Wainwright said. "The other is, that wasn't very good. I lean toward the second one, with a small hint of the first one."
Unhappy with his mechanics, Wainwright allowed four earned runs.
"I left a lot of balls up and the guys obviously made me pay for the ones that were up," he said. "Rather than break with my plan and start flipping breaking balls in there and change-ups and sliders, I kept grinding through it."
Gonzalez, also making his second start, allowed Allen Craig's RBI double in the first and Craig's broken-bat, run-scoring infield hit in the third.
"My arm feels good," Gonzalez said. "I feel healthy. I feel where I want to be."
Right-hander Shelby Miller, trying to win the Cardinals' fifth starter job, followed Wainwright in first exhibition appearance of the year after being slowed by a sore shoulder, Miller struck out Rendon, Perez and Espinoza in order in the fourth, the allowed Ian Desmond's wind-aided home run to right in the fifth.
NOTES: St. Louis SS Rafael Furcal had set Saturday as the date he hoped to play the field for the first time this spring training, but his sore right elbow once again kept him out of the lineup. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said before the game he is not putting a time line on Furcal's return. Cedeno made two throwing errors from shortstop. ... Cardinals RF Carlos Beltran was scratched from the starting lineup to give an injured right little toe more time to heal. Beltran was hit by a pitch on the right foot during the first inning of Thursday's game against Miami. He did take swings in the batting cage before the game and Matheny still expects Beltran to play for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. ... Washington's Roger Bernadina went 1 for 5 with a double and two RBIs for the Netherlands in a 5-0 win over South Korea in the World Baseball Classic. ... RHP Ross Detwiler is to start for the Nationals on Sunday against St. Louis before joining the U.S. team for the WBC.