04/01/12 3:30 PM ET
Garcia stymies Nats in final tuneup for season
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
Jaime Garcia, who will start the Cardinals' second regular-season game, pitched five scoreless innings before Danny Espinosa tied the game at 1 with a homer off the Cards' left-hander. The homer was Espinosa's first and just his third extra-base hit of the spring.
"They have a really good lineup and Espinosa is a really good hitter," Garcia said. "I made a mistake up in the zone and he took advantage of it."
Garcia scattered four other hits in his longest Grapefruit League outing. He struck out three and didn't allow a walk. He last issued a free pass in his March 17 start, when he walked three. Garcia threw 79 pitches, 49 for strikes.
Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez was just as good, also allowing just one run. Consecutive fourth-inning doubles by Tyler Greene and Carlos Beltran pushed across the game's first run. Gonzalez allowed only one other hit, and he upped his spring strikeout total to 26 with seven in five innings.
Gonzalez, who hasn't pitched past the fifth all spring, threw 52 of his 81 pitches for strikes. He walked just one.
Tom Gorzelanny followed Gonzalez and retired all six batters he faced. Relievers Victor Marte and Fernando Salas pitched a scoreless inning for St. Louis.
Up next: The Cardinals' final exhibition game before the regular season will take place in Springfield, Mo., on Monday at 6:10 p.m. CT. The matchup will feature several members of St. Louis' roster against the organization's Double-A affiliate. Pitching prospect Trevor Rosenthal, who will begin his season at Double-A Springfield, will start for the Cards. He will be opposed by lefty Tyler Lyons. Most of St. Louis' relievers will be available to pitch, and Matt Holliday, David Freese and Jon Jay are among the position players making the trip.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.