John Gant got things done on the mound, and then helped himself at the plate, all to earn his fifth win, and his team's 65th victory. Gant pitched in to the sixth inning and struck out six without walking a batter and allowing just one run. The young hurler has given up just two earned runs in 11.1 innings over his past two starts, both of which have been victories. He then came to the plate and connected with his first-career hit and home run, a two-run shot in the second inning. The 26-year-old had been 0-for-30 in his career leading up to that at-bat.
That helped St. Louis get out to a 5-0 lead, as they never trailed in this one on their home field. Kolten Wong added three hits and three RBI, as the Cardinals pulled within four games of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
They have gotten back on track since Mike Shildt was named interim on July 13th, going 18-9 in that span. That is the most wins for a manager in its first 27 games in franchise history. There is no word on if Shildt will stay with the team permanently after this season, but this recent success is making that a legitimate possibility.
The Nationals' struggles continued, as they dropped back to .500 at 60-60 with their sixth loss in the past eight games. They now trail the Atlanta Braves by eight games in the NL East. Gio Gonzalez dropped to 7-9 on the season, while Bryce Harper went deep in the loss. These two teams will do battle again on Wednesday night.