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Cardinals on Game 5: 'We smelled blood'

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Cardinals on Game 5: 'We smelled blood'

Heading into the Nationals and Cardinals Nationals League Division Series, St. Louis held a distinct advantage in experience. The Cardinals are the most storied franchise in the N.L. and have been in the playoffs three of the last four seasons. Last year they won it all and, despite losing their best player and Hall of Fame manager, remain a deep team full of veterans.

The Cardinals were patient at the plate, took advantage of mistakes by the Nats, and slowly clawed their way back in Game 5. The Nationals on the other hand wasted key at-bats, left men on base, and pitched poorly in relief.

One unnamed Cardinals player said the collapse began with starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez, perhaps even when the Nats had a six-run lead.

Here is what the anonymous player told Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Gio looked like he didn’t want to be out there. The guy has a 6-0 lead, then 6-1, and he’s panicking out there. We smelled blood.”

Throughout the comeback, Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker said you could tell the Nats were panicking as a team.

“Before the series started, I said you really couldn’t put a price tag on experience. A lot of guys had the bright-eyed, deer-in-the-headlights look. And I’m not going to mention names, but we saw them taking a couple of deep breaths between pitches, and they were up four or five runs. When we saw that, we started talking. We weren’t taking any deep breaths. We were the ones trying to push. It felt like we had the momentum, which is crazy to say because we were behind. But it really felt that way.”

It would be hard to corroborate these stories as no Nationals player would admit such a weakness. On the issue of experience, however, one important point needs to be made. The two big hits delivered in the ninth inning - the two RBI single to tie the game and the two RBI single for the go-ahead runs - were by Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma. Descalso, 25, is in his third major league season and Kozma, 24, is a rookie.

Experience may have played a role in the game as a whole, but the four-run swing in the ninth doesn’t happen without the team’s two least tenured players in the Cardinals’ lineup that night.

And with Schumaker commenting on the momentum and such, keep in mind all he did was pinch-hit in Game 5 and saw four total pitches. He can't exactly speak for the team in what it was like to take the momentum from the Nats and ride it to the win.

Thanks to NBC Washington for the link.

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Nats' bats remain red-hot in freezing cold Denver

Nats' bats remain red-hot in freezing cold Denver

DENVER  -- Trea Turner nearly hit for the cycle for a second straight night, finishing a triple shy, and Bryce Harper had four more hits to run his average to .432 as the Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 11-4 on Wednesday.

Turner lined one of three Washington homers, with Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy also going deep, to help the Nationals improve to 8-1 on their 10-game trip.

Tanner Roark (3-0) worked his way out of several jams to throw five solid innings. He allowed two runs and struck out four.

Never quite settling in on a cool night, Tyler Chatwood (2-3) surrendered five runs in five innings.

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Turner followed his cycle the night before with a solo shot in the fifth for his second homer of the season. Zimmerman hit a two-run shot later in the inning to give Washington a 5-0 lead.

Harper kept up his torrid pace at the plate with four hard hits, including a double. It was his fifth four-hit game of his career and third this season.

Roark ran into trouble in the fifth when the Rockies loaded the bases. He walked DJ LeMahieu to force in a run and gave up another run on Nolan Arenado's fielder's choice. With two outs and two on, Roark struck out Carlos Gonzalez with a 77-mph curve. Gonzalez broke his bat on the ground in frustration.

For the second straight night, a two-out walk in the second inning to the pitcher came back to haunt the Rockies. After Chatwood missed on a 3-2 fastball to Roark, Adam Eaton followed with a two-run single.

On Tuesday, German Marquez issued a two-out walk that turned into a five-run frame in a game the Nationals won 15-12. They have taken two of three in the four-game series with Colorado

RELATED: NATS PLACE RELIEVER ON DL

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Nationals place Koda Glover on DL due to hip injury

Nationals place Koda Glover on DL due to hip injury

 The Washington Nationals placed reliever Koda Glover on the 10-day disabled list with a left hip impingement.

Glover earned his first two career saves last weekend in New York against the Mets. He's 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 11 appearances.

Manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday he wanted to take a cautious route with Glover because, "we're going to need Koda in the long run."

The 23-year-old Glover was selected in the eighth round of the 2015 first-year player draft.

To take his place, the Nationals recalled left-hander Matt Grace from Triple-A Syracuse. The 28-year-old Grace has a 3.60 ERA in 31 career major league games.

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