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Cardinals Vs. Nationals Game Recap: St. Louis Drops Opener in Washington 8-1

The St. Louis Cardinals lost the first game of a pivotal series against the Washington Nationals Thursday night 8-1. The Nationals got on the board early, with a two-run Bryce Harper home run giving them the lead in the bottom of the first inning. An Adam LaRoche sacrifice fly in the third scored Jayson Werth, extending Washington's advantage to 3-0. Werth scored his third run of the night on a solo homer in the fifth, and the Nationals added two runs in the sixth and seventh innings to build an 8-0 lead. St. Louis finally scored on a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, breaking a scoreless streak that had extended to 28 innings.

Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia struggled, giving up six earned runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, striking out just two. Former Cardinal Edwin Jackson starred for Washington, going eight innings and allowing just one run and four hits.

Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal left the game in the bottom of the sixth with a right elbow injury. No word as of yet on the nature of his condition.

The loss reduces St. Louis' wild card lead to just 1/2 a game over Pittsburgh. The Dodgers play later tonight, and will have a chance to reduce their current 1 1/2 game deficit.

Be sure to visit Viva El Birdos for Cardinals news and analysis, and Federal Baseball for more on the Nationals. Visit Baseball Nation for even more news from around the league.