Nats bullpen shines in win over Cardinals


Nats bullpen shines in win over Cardinals

From Comcast SportsNetST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rookies in the postseason, the Washington Nationals played like poised veterans.The Nationals escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning, pinch hitter Tyler Moore blooped a two-out, two-run single in the eighth and Washington beat the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 Sunday in an NL playoff opener.The Nationals, who had never come close to making the playoffs since moving from Montreal for the 2005 season, overcame a wild start by 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez.Reliever Ryan Mattheus needed just two pitches to bail out the Nationals in the seventh with St. Louis ahead 2-1. Tyler Clippard worked around an error in the eighth and Drew Storen saved it with a 1-2-3 ninth.The NL East champion Nationals led the majors with 98 wins this season, and brought postseason baseball to Washington for the first time since 1933. The Nats go for a 2-0 series lead Monday when Jordan Zimmermann opposes Jaime Garcia.The Cardinals made it to the best-of-five division series by beating Atlanta in the wild-card matchup Friday. But St. Louis wasted a 10-strikeout gem by Adam Wainwright, failing to capitalize enough on Gonzalez's career high-tying seven walks and frustrating its towel-waving fans.A standing room crowd of 47,078, among the largest at 7-year-old Busch Stadium, bundled up for a game that began in 54-degree chill and featured kaleidoscope late-afternoon shadows that bedeviled hitters for several innings.Rookie shortstop Pete Kozma misplayed Michael Morse's grounder for an error to open the eighth and set up the Nationals' go-ahead rally. Ian Desmond followed with a single off Mitchell Boggs for his third hit of the game, putting runners at the corners.Danny Espinsoa sacrificed, leaving runners at second and third, and Kurt Suzuki struck out. In a series of moves, the Nationals sent up Chad Tracy to pinch hit, the Cardinals switched to lefty Marc Rzepczynski and Washington subbed in Moore, who had two of their three pinch homers this season.Moore poked an outside pitch to right field and both runners scored easily.Wainwright became the first Cardinals pitcher to reach double digits in strikeouts since Bob Gibson also fanned 10 to beat the Tigers in Game 4 of the 1968 World Series.Wainwright was a 14-game winner coming off reconstructive elbow surgery that sidelined him all of 2011, with 10 of the wins coming at home. He's been a postseason ace with a microscopic 0.77 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 23 1-3 innings.He fanned Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman twice each and seventh-place hitter Espinosa all three times.Gonzalez allowed just one hit in five innings, on David Freese's full-count bouncer between third and short to start the fourth. But he had trouble finding catcher Kurt Suzuki's glove.The second inning was Gonzalez' shakiest when he allowed the Cardinals to score twice and take the lead without a hit. Gonzalez walked four of the first five hitters, putting St. Louis in position to score one run on a wild pitch and a second on Jon Jay's bases-loaded sacrifice fly.Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth robbed Daniel Descalso of a two-run homer off with a leaping catch to keep it at 2-1 in the sixth. Descalso had a fielding gem of his own in the seventh, ranging far to his left to glove Harper's grounder and then throwing him out by a few steps.

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Caps recount the team Halloween party

Caps recount the team Halloween party

By now you’ve likely seen the pictures and videos from the Caps’ Halloween party on Sunday. The players were all smiles after practice on Monday when asked about the night’s frivolities.

“I use gel for my hair and look like a real American guy so it was kind of cool,” said Alex Ovechkin who went as a prison inmate.

One of the best costumes of the night was that of Andre Burakovsky and Tom Wilson who went as Brennan and Dale from the movie “Step Brothers.”

“Me and Tom, we wanted to do something together,” Burakovsky said, “And I came up with the idea because we’re pretty close, we’re good friends, you know, step brothers. I looked online for funny Halloween costumes and I saw like a picture of the step brothers.”

RELATED: Trotz: Caps need more 'net presence'

When asked if he had actually seen the movie, Burakovsky revealed that he had not.

“I’ve heard a lot about it and now I have to see it.”

And then there was Zach Sanford.

The most memorable moment from the evening was a video of Zach Sanford singing the song “Sweet Caroline” while dressed as Dog the bounty hunter.

As the party moved to a karaoke bar, Sanford, of course had to get things started.

“Because he was rookie he have to do something first,” Ovechkin said.

“I wanted to do some Missy Elliott but [Braden Holtby] ended up picking ‘Sweet Caroline’ for me,” Sanford said.

And the rest is internet history (though you can’t help but wonder what a video of Sanford singing Missy Elliott would have looked like).

But whatever you may have thought when you saw him sing, Burakovsky was apparently worse. 

“Burkie was entertaining but he wasn’t very good,” Sanford said. “He didn’t really know the words.”

Being Swedish, Burakovsky of course had to sing the ABBA classic “Dancing Queen.”

“I think it was just Holtby that gave me the mic and he’s like here and I’m like what do you want me to do with it? And this song came on and obviously it’s ABBA, it’s Swedish so they wanted me to sing it so I did a little solo thing there.”

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz tweaks Caps' top lines in attempt to spark offense

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PHOTO: Wizards fan channels Donald Trump to roast Drake with sign

PHOTO: Wizards fan channels Donald Trump to roast Drake with sign

One fan at the Wizards' preseason finale against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night brought quite the sign along with him to the Verizon Center. In one sharpie-signed message, he managed to channel presidential candidate Donald Trump to take a shot at the most famous Raptors fan out there, rap superstar Drake.

And the fan just happened to be wearing a throwback John Wall jersey. Check it out:

If Drake could see this, here's how he might respond:

That's cold, man.

[RELATED: Wizards ready to unleash John Wall]