ST. LOUIS (AP) — Nolan Gorman broke out of a slump with a homer and a pair of RBIs, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Gorman said time spent with hitting coach Jeff Albert helped him after the rookie had just one hit in his previous 12 at-bats. Gorman had eight strikeouts during that span.
“There’s been a lot of work, a lot of talks,” Gorman said. “Just putting good work down there and I’m trying to get stuff to translate.”
José Quintana (5-6) gave up a run on five hits and he struck out five in five innings to earn his first win since Aug. 10. The Cardinals have won five of their last six games and 19 of their last 22 at Busch Stadium.
“Used the fastball well,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said of Quintana. “Increased the usage of the fastball, pitched in well, pitched up well with it, which will allowed the sinker to play and his off-speed stuff to play.”
Jordan Hicks pitched two scoreless innings and Giovanny Gallegos turned in a perfect eighth in relief. Ryan Helsley pitched around a leadoff double to earn his 14th save in 18 opportunities.
Brendan Donovan’s solo homer broke an 0-for-12 skid and ignited a three-run fourth inning that snapped a 12-inning scoreless streak for the Cardinals. Tyler O’Neill’s sacrifice fly scored Nolan Arenado and Gorman’s double scored Corey Dickerson to give St. Louis a 3-1 lead.
“Hitting is contagious no matter what,” Donovan said. “Any way we can scratch on the cross, I think it’s good, just keep rolling. But I mean, this offense can pop off at any time.”
Gorman added to the lead with a solo home run off Steve Cishek in the seventh.
“We needed it and he needed it,” Marmol said of Gorman’s homer. “Hopefully that’s something he could build off of, just from a confidence standpoint. He’s been working hard at it so it’s good to see a little reward.”
Nationals starter Paolo Espino (0-7) gave up three runs in five innings. Espino allowed seven hits and struck out five as Washington’s three-game winning streak ended.
Ildemaro Vargas’ RBI single in the second gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
“Quintana, he doesn’t throw hard, but his ball gets on you,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He hides the ball really well. We had just a few opportunities, but he threw the ball really well. It was just one of those days we really couldn’t get anything going.”
Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt was held to one hit and did not drive in a run as he continued his Triple Crown pursuit. Goldschmidt leads the NL with his .329 average and 107 RBIs. His 34 homers trails Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber (36) and Atlanta’s Austin Riley (35).
Goldschmidt has left an impression on Gorman.
“Just try to be a complete hitter and compete and swing at good pitches,” Gorman said. “You see guys like Goldy who are able to do that at this level and stay consistent.”
The Cardinals have not lost back-to-back games since July 24 at Cincinnati and July 26 at Toronto. The Cardinals have gone 29-11 since July 24, the best record in the league during that span.
“There’s no panic in this clubhouse,” Donovan said. “We show up prepared and play hard. So, what happens yesterday, once midnight hits that day’s over with. On to the next day.”
Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog was shown on the video board in the sixth inning. Herzog led the Cardinals to a World Series Championship in 1982 and also made appearances in the Fall Classic in 1985 and 1987.
Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (left elbow inflammation) threw 37 pitches at 75 percent in a simulated game and hopes to throw another bullpen session in three days.
Cardinals: LHP Steven Matz (left MCL tear) made a minor league rehab start Tuesday with Double-A Springfield. Matz threw 30 pitches, struck out three and walked three in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
RHP Cory Abbott (0-2, 4.39 ERA) will get the start for the Nationals in the third of a four-game series Wednesday night, while the Cardinals counter with LHP Jordan Montgomery (8-3, 3.15 ERA). Abbott will make his second career start at Busch Stadium after giving up a pair of runs in five innings as a member of the Chicago Cubs on Oct. 1, 2021. Montgomery, who is making his first career start against Washington, pitched six shutout innings against the Cubs in his last outing on September 2.
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