Wacha sharp, Fowler key for Cards

March 8th, 2017

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals sent nine batters to the plate against in a four-run first inning that set the tone for the club's 9-3 victory over the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday.

Strasburg labored through a 26-pitch opening inning in which he allowed five hits, including RBI singles to Matt Adams, and . He surrendered another two runs in the second, which would be Strasburg's final inning of work. He threw 48 pitches, 24 for strikes.

Despite results, Strasburg pleased with stuff

The Cardinals' burst of early offense came in support of starter , who is working toward solidifying the fifth spot in the rotation. Wacha pitched three scoreless innings for the second straight start. He scattered two hits and struck out three while throwing 53 pitches (33 strikes).

"I felt good out there, throwing a lot of strikes, working down in the zone," said Wacha, who's yet to allow an earned run in eight spring innings. "I didn't see any velocity out there today, but I know it feels good whenever I'm letting loose and letting it go. I'm just really happy with the way the arm feels and the body feels, for sure."

The top of the Cardinals' lineup was keyed by , who reached base three times, and , who laced a pair of doubles. Diaz also made a couple of nice defensive plays in the game. Adams drove in two runs.

Behind Strasburg, Matt Albers threw one scoreless inning and followed up with three innings, allowing four hits and two runs. Cardinals lefty allowed one hit over one scoreless inning in his first Grapefruit League outing.

For the Nationals, and continued their strong spring performances, with two hits apiece.

Bader, the Cardinals' No. 5 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, added a solo home run in the 8th, his second of the spring.

Nationals Up Next:A.J. Cole will make his third Grapefruit League start on Thursday when the Nats host the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. ET at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Cole has allowed eight runs (seven earned) in 4 2/3 innings in his first two outings.

Cardinals Up Next: will make his third start of the spring on Thursday, when the Cardinals host the Astros at Roger Dean Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT. Prospects and are expected to pitch in relief. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.

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