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Cardinals vs. Nationals final score: St. Louis explodes for 12 runs behind Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran

The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 2 of the NLDS—their last one at Busch Stadium—in an authoritative fashion, by an authoritative score of 12-4 over the Washington Nationals. But it took a while. Most of the afternoon the Cardinals, no matter how many runs they scored, seemed just barely ahead of a Nationals team that kept scoring. A 4-1 lead became a 7-1 lead, but then it was 7-3; they tacked another run on and the Nats got it right back. It wasn't until Carlos Beltran hit his second home run of the afternoon, pushing the score to 11-4, that things seemed secure in a game where starter Jaime Garcia lasted just two innings.

Offense defined the game—Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso also homered—but the Cardinals pitchers got some major help from two defensive plays. In the sixth, Jon Jay made one of the best catches of the year on what might have been a leadoff triple; shortly afterward, Descalso made a heads-up play to double off Bryce Harper on Matt Holliday's worst throw ever.

Lance Lynn, who allowed two runs in three innings in relief of Garcia, gets the win; Jordan Zimmermann, who lasted just three innings himself, takes the loss. The Cardinals and Nationals reconvene in D.C. on Wednesday, when Chris Carpenter will face 2011 Cardinals acquisition Edwin Jackson at 12:00 PM C.D.T.