Washington, DC – Bryce Harper finished with a two-run home run and drove in three, as the Washington Nationals pounded the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-1, in the opener of a four-game series.
Jayson Werth added two hits, including a solo homer, two RBI and scored three times for the Nationals, who have won two in a row to erase the memory of a five-game skid. Jesus Flores also knocked in two for the NL East leaders.
"I don't think any of us were panicking or upset about anything," Werth said.
Edwin Jackson (8-9) tossed eight strong innings, scattering four hits and walking two with an unearned run while fanning 10.
Jaime Garcia (3-6) lasted just 5 1/3 frames, charged with nine hits and six runs in defeat for the Cardinals, losers of three straight.
"I felt like every mistake I made they took advantage of it," Garcia said.
Harper's two-run shot put the Nats on the board in the first inning, then an Adam LaRoche sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the third pushed the hosts' advantage to 3-0.
Werth's solo blast to start the fifth made it a four-run spread, and in the sixth a Werth fielder's choice grounder with the bases loaded and a Harper base hit increased the lead to 6-0.
Flores added a two-run single with one down and the bases loaded in the seventh to cap the offense for Washington.
The Cardinals' lone run, in the top of the eighth, was helped by an errant throw. Bryan Anderson doubled to start the frame, then scored when Ryan Zimmerman scooped up a Jon Jay grounder at third but threw high to first. It put an end to a 28-inning scoreless string by the defending World Series champs, but was not nearly enough.
Mike Gonzalez retired the side in order in the ninth to close out the easy victory.
Jackson posted his seventh career start with 10-or-more strikeouts ... His punch-out of Cards outfielder Matt Holliday in the fifth inning was the 1,069th for Washington pitchers this season, establishing a new franchise record ... St. Louis has failed to score an earned run in three straight games.