The Cardinals Major League Notebook 05/01

On a night of firsts, rookie Tyler Greene's infield single, his first big-league hit, led to two runs in a five-run ninth inning Thursday. And left-handed-batting Rick Ankiel's first hit to left field this year (out of 19) was a run-scoring double that started the ninth-inning flurry that pushed the Cardinals' record to 16-7, best in the majors.

The Cardinals were good guests. They accepted 11 walks and a hit batsman and a balk offered up by Washington pitchers, plus four wild pitches by Washington starter Daniel Cabrera.

Four of the walks and the hit batter scored, with three of those coming around in the ninth inning. Chris Duncan drew the first walk with one out, and Ankiel, remaining patient against former Cardinals pitcher Julian Tavarez, sliced a double just inside the left field line and out of the reach of lumbering Nationals left fielder Adam Dunn.

With the bases loaded and one out, Greene dribbled a ball down the third base line. Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman missed a barehanded attempt. He swatted the ball away and Cardinals baserunner Joe Thurston tried to follow Ankiel home from second. Nationals catcher Jesus Flores dropped shortstop Cristian Guzman's throw home, and Greene went to second, happy with his first hit.

"It was a nice little placement," he said wryly of the first hit. "Got the job done."

Greene, who stole seven bases at Class AAA Memphis this year, then swiped third. He later scored on pinch hitter Brian Barden's sacrifice fly.

CARDINALS 9, NATIONALS 4: Cardinals relievers peeled off three scoreless innings after a respectable start by rookie RHP Mitchell Boggs. Boggs fanned nine in six innings, but he gave up a two-run homer to 3B Ryan Zimmerman and two more runs with two outs in the sixth.

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