(Sunday, September 30th)
Final Score: St. Louis 10, Washington 4
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Carlos Beltran hit a pair of two-run home runs and drove in five as the St. Louis Cardinals pounded the Washington Nationals, 10-4, in the finale of a three-game series.
St. Louis stayed two games ahead of Los Angeles for the final wild card spot in the National League as the Dodgers downed the Rockies on Sunday.
"There's a lot of teams that would love to be in the position that we are in," said Beltran. "You know, competing for a chance to get in the playoffs. We're playing really good as a team right now."
Washington still holds a three-game lead over Atlanta, which defeated the New York Mets on Sunday, for first place in the NL East and is tied with Cincinnati for the best overall record in baseball.
Jon Jay scored three times and drove in a run while Peter Kozma went 3- for-3 -- including a bases-loaded double -- and scored once for the Cardinals, who have won six of eight. Lance Lynn (18-7) gave up four runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings to win his fifth straight start.
Danny Espinosa hit a two-run home run and Bryce Harper added a solo shot for the Nationals, who close out their season at home with a three-game set against the Phillies. Ross Detwiler (10-8) was lit up for seven runs -- three earned -- on four hits and five walks in just 2 1/3 innings.
"Obviously it was a rough outing for him out there tonight," said Washington manager Davey Johnson about Detwiler. "That's why I got him out of there so early. He'll bounce back, he always does."
St. Louis took command of the game with a big second inning, as Kozma's double to right scored two. Two batters later, Jay singled him home and Beltran followed with a homer over the left field wall, his 31st of the season, for a 5-0 lead.
The Cardinals put two more on the board in the third on a wild pitch from Detwiler that allowed David Freese to score and a Kozma sacrifice fly which plated Daniel Descalso for a 7-0 lead.
Washington got back in the contest with four runs in the fourth. Harper led off the frame with his 22nd home run of the season. Adam LaRoche later singled and scored on Ian Desmond's double, and Espinosa followed with a shot over the left field wall to make it a 7-4 game.
Beltran, though, hit his second two-run home run of the game in the bottom of the fourth for a 9-4 advantage.
The Nationals left men on second and third in the sixth inning and stranded a man at third in the eighth.
Beltran drove in his fifth run of the game when he singled home Jay, who had led off the eighth with a double.
Washington was later set down quietly in the ninth by Joe Kelly.
Washington went 48-33 on the road this season ... St. Louis welcomes Cincinnati for three games starting on Monday ... Washington won the season series, 4-3 ... Beltran is three RBI away from his first 100-RBI season since 2008, when he was with the Mets.
09/30 20:17:42 ET