Zimmerman sparks winning rally over Cardinals in return from DL

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman watches his RBI-double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Washington, Tuesday, June 14, 2011. The Nationals beat the Cardinals 8-6.

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman watches his RBI-double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Washington, Tuesday, June 14, 2011. The Nationals beat the Cardinals 8-6. Photo by The Associated Press.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ryan Zimmerman hit a run-scoring double in his return from the disabled list to spark a six-run seventh-inning as the Washington Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-6 on Tuesday night.

Zimmerman had missed 58 games because of an injured abdominal muscle. He was given ovations from the crowd in pregame introductions and for each of his at-bats, with the loudest cheers coming after his double down the right-field line drove in the Nationals’ first run of the seventh.

Washington’s last four runs in the inning scored with two outs. The tying run scored on a wild pitch and the Nationals took the lead on a bases-loaded walk.

Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman hit home runs for St. Louis, which has lost a season-high four straight games.

The six-run inning matched the Nationals’ best this season, and extended their winning streak to four games, also tying their season best.

Miguel Batista (3-2) of the Cardinals relieved starter Jaime Garcia to start the seventh with St. Louis holding a 6-2 lead. After Zimmerman’s double, Michael Morse had an RBI groundout for the second out. Danny Espinosa then scored Zimmerman on a single.

Reliever Trever Miller came on and hit Roger Bernadina, loading the bases, and then threw a wild pitch to pinch-hitter Ivan Rodriguez, allowing the tying run to score. After an intentional walk to Rodriguez, reliever Jason Motte came on and walked pinch-hitter Laynce Nix on the 11th pitch of the at-bat to give the Nationals their first lead of the game, 7-6. Jayson Werth singled home an insurance run to cap the rally.

Henry Rodriguez (2-1) pitched the seventh inning to earn the win. Drew Storen pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

The Cardinals took advantage of a defensive miscue to score three runs in the fifth.

An intentional walk to Pujols with one out loaded the bases for Berkman, who hit what appeared to be a double-play grounder to shortstop Ian Desmond. However, Desmond’s flip to Espinosa caught the second baseman in an awkward position, and the throw to first was too late to get Berkman. The reprieve led to two more St. Louis runs as Yadier Molina and Andrew Brown hit run-scoring singles before the Nationals got out of the inning.

Pujols hit a two-run homer in the first — his 15th of the year — and Berkman hit his 17th in the fourth.

Notes: Nationals OF Rick Ankiel (strained left intercostal muscle) left the game after the top of the second and is listed as day-to-day. ... Washington optioned RHP Craig Stammen to Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday. ... LHP Tom Gorzelanny (inflamed left elbow) threw a rehab start for Syracuse on Monday, giving up four runs in four innings. Gorzelanny said Tuesday he felt ready to come off the DL for his next start, although Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said he may get one more rehab start. ... Cardinals RF Andrew Brown made his first major-league start, one game after his MLB debut, and got his first hit in the fifth inning. ... SS Ryan Theriot had errors on consecutive plays in the fifth inning. He has 13 this season.

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