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Wacha starts off strong as Cardinals tie up Nationals

Righty retires first six batters; Rosenthal delivers scoreless inning in spring debut

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals and Nationals both scored three runs in the eighth inning and played to a 4-4 tie in 10 innings Saturday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium.

The Nationals took their first lead of the game with a three-run homer from outfielder Destin Hood in the top of the eighth.

With Washington playing split-squad games, Hood was pulled out of Minor League camp to join the big league team for the day. In his first at-bat of the game, he drove a pitch from Cardinals righty Zach Petrick over the fence in right-center. The homer, which came with one out, followed an error by shortstop Luis Mateo and Justin Martinson's single.

The Cardinals answered right back with RBI hits from Xavier Scruggs and Greg Garcia. Scruggs drove home one with a two-out, ground-rule double. Garcia followed with a two-run single to tie the game. All three runs were scored off Washington reliever Daniel Stange.

Before the offensive outburst, the game had been tied at 1-1 since both starters exited after three innings.

The Cardinals, with an RBI single from second baseman Mark Ellis, scored first off Nationals right-hander Chris Young in the second. Ellis' hit followed a single and stolen base by catcher Yadier Molina. Those were the only two hits Young allowed while throwing 46 pitches (24 strikes) over three innings. Young walked three and struck out one.

St. Louis starter Michael Wacha retired the first six batters he faced on 24 pitches before running into some trouble in the third. A leadoff single by Brock Peterson, who made his Major League debut with the Cardinals last season, was followed by a walk and RBI single from Jamey Carroll.

Wacha finished with a pitch count of 51. It was the most pitches thrown by a Cardinals starter this spring.

A.J. Cole, a fourth-round pick from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, followed Young with 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He scattered two hits and struck out three. Aaron Barrett replaced him and retired all four batters he faced.

Four Cardinals relievers -- Trevor Rosenthal, Sam Freeman, Randy Choate and Tyler Lyons -- made scoreless appearances. Saturday's outing was the spring debut for Rosenthal, whose throwing program had been interrupted by a groin strain.

Up next for the Cardinals: Outfielder Peter Bourjos, who has missed the last week due to a right hamstring cramp, is scheduled to return to the starting lineup in Sunday's game against the Nationals. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT on MLB Network. Joe Kelly, a candidate for the fifth spot in the Cardinals' rotation, will oppose Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg. Kelly is looking for improved results after allowing two runs on two hits and two walks in a 1 2/3-innings start Monday.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.
Read More: St. Louis Cardinals, Xavier Scruggs, Greg Garcia, Mark Ellis, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha