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Beltran homers twice as Cardinals beat Nats 10-4

Sunday, September 30, 2012 | 5:08 p.m. CDT; updated 5:34 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 30, 2012
St. Louis Cardinals' Carlos Beltran hits his second home run of Sunday's game during the fourth against the Washington Nationals in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — Carlos Beltran homered from both sides of the plate for the ninth time in his career and drove in five runs, and the St. Louis Cardinals closed in on the National League's second wild-card berth by beating the Washington Nationals 10-4 Sunday.

St. Louis (86-74) took a 7-0 lead by the third inning and reduced its magic number for clinching to two, pending the game later Sunday between the Los Angeles Dodgers (83-75) and Colorado.

Washington (96-63), already assured of the capital's first postseason baseball since 1933, saw its magic number for clinching the NL East remain at one over second-place Atlanta (93-66).

Lance Lynn (18-7) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings, improving to 5-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last five appearances.

Beltran hit a pair of two-run homes, connecting right-handed off Ross Detwiler (10-8) in the second and left-handed against Chien-Ming Wang in the fourth. Beltran has four multihomer games this season and 34 in his career. He improved to 32 homers with 97 RBIs in his first season with St. Louis.

Pete Kozma was 3 for 3 with three RBIs, raising his average to .338.

Rookie Bryce Harper hit his 22nd home run for Washington, a solo shot. Danny Espinosa also had a two-run homer for the Nationals.

Detwiler (10-8), a St. Louis area native making his first start in his hometown, allowed seven runs — three earned — four hits and five walks in 2 1/3 innings. He set season highs for fewest innings and most walks.

St. Louis took a 5-0 lead in the second after Yadier Molina and David Freese walked, and second baseman Danny Espinosa booted Daniel Descalso's grounder, loading the bases. Kozma hit a two-run double down the right-field line, with Descalso thrown out at the plate on Espinosa's relay from Jayson Werth. Jon Jay's one-out single made it 3-0, and Beltran homered.

Harper's homer, Ian Desmond's RBI double and Espinosa's two-run homer cut the deficit to 7-4 in the fourth, but Beltran connected off Wang in the bottom half, and Beltran hit an RBI single against Zach Duke.


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