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Ozuna drives in 4 as Cardinals clip Nationals


EditorsNote: updates third and fifth grafs to reflect Cubs' win

Marcell Ozuna drove home all four runs as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the visiting Washington Nationals 4-2 Monday night.

Ozuna provided the offense a two-run homer and a two-run double. He also provided some defense, throwing out a runner at the plate from left field.

The Cardinals (84-66) maintained their two-game lead in the National League Central, as the second-place Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-2 later Monday. Each team has 12 games left after Monday.

The Nationals (82-67) lost for the eighth time in their last 12 games. Bench coach Chip Hale guided the team with manager Dave Martinez sidelined after undergoing a heart procedure.

Washington saw its lead over Chicago for the NL's first wild card slip to a half-game.

Cardinals starting pitcher Dakota Hudson (16-7) earned the victory by holding the Nationals to two runs on five hits in seven innings.

Closer Carlos Martinez, back after a brief hospitalization due to respiratory problems, got the final out for his 20th save.

Reliever Sean Doolittle (6-5), the third Washington pitcher, took the loss. Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg walked four batters and needed 99 pitches to get through five innings.

Strasburg allowed Ozuna's two-run homer in the first inning, then held the Cardinals scoreless for four innings before exiting.

The Nationals cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fourth inning, and they nearly scored more.

With two outs, Juan Soto walked, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a single and Ryan Zimmerman walked to load the bases. Victor Robles lined a single to left field to score Soto, but Ozuna threw out Cabrera at the plate to end the inning.

The Nationals tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning with Anthony Rendon's solo homer. It was Rendon's 34th homer of the season, and just the third that Hudson allowed in his past nine starts.

But the Cardinals rallied in the seventh inning. Dexter Fowler drew a one-out walk from Doolittle. With two outs, Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk from reliever Hunter Strickland, whose subsequent wild pitch moved both runners up.

Ozuna's ground-rule double down the left field line gave the Cardinals their winning margin.

--Field Level Media

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