Denard Span can't quite haul in Allen Craig's third-inning drive to the wall.
Hitting lowlight: The Nationals had some chances, especially late, but simply couldn't produce a clutch hit when they needed it. They had two on and two out in the seventh, with Chad Tracy at the plate in a seemingly favorable matchup, against right-hander Joe Kelly. Kelly, though, sawed off Tracy's bat, resulting in a blooper to shallow center. The ball nearly fell in for a big hit, but Jon Jay made a sliding catch to quash that possible rally. The Nationals were again in position to plate the tying run in the eighth after Denard Span beat out an infield single and Bryce Harper drew a two-out walk. But Adam LaRoche grounded out on the first pitch he saw from Trevor Rosenthal. Ian Desmond then swung from his heels on a 1-1 fastball from Rosenthal, only to watch Rosenthal's next pitch sail over the heart of the plate for a crushing strikeout.
Pitching lowlight: This was easily Haren's best start as a National. The problem is that he set the bar so low in his previous three starts that even his best wasn't especially good. Haren did manage to avoid major damage, allowing a two-run double to Allen Craig in the third and at least giving himself and his team a chance. He took the mound for the sixth on 87 pitches, the first time he'd made it that deep into a game this season. But he never managed to record an out in the frame. He plunked Matt Holliday to get things started, then gave up two quick hits and issued a walk (surprisingly his third of the night) to bring Capt. Hook out of the Nationals dugout. The final stat line — 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER — doesn't look too bad, but Haren has got to be able to get through that sixth inning. That's what the Nationals paid him $13 million to do, and so far this season he hasn't been able to do that.
Key stat: With a fourth-inning double, Ian Desmond notched his 12th extra-base hit in 19 games this season. That ranks second in the NL, one behind Atlanta's Justin Upton.
Up next: The series continues with a couple of hot pitchers taking the mound to square off. Ross Detwiler (1-0, 0.90 ERA) starts for the Nationals, with Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.48) on the hill for the Cardinals at 7:05 p.m