WASHINGTON — Ryan Zimmerman hit two home runs, and Joel Hanrahan added a two-run double in his first major league win as Washington pounded the St. Louis Cardinals 12-1 Saturday night, extending the Nationals’ winning streak to a season-best five games.
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, attempting to shake up an anemic offense, decided that Adam Kennedy would bat ninth and his pitcher eighth. It was the first time La Russa batted his pitcher eighth since 1998.
For a while, the move looked brilliant. Kennedy hit a home run with one out in the third, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
But Hanrahan (1-0), a 25-year-old rookie making his second major league start, didn’t allow another run pitching into the fifth inning. He gave up six hits, struck out three and walked three in sending the Cardinals to their fourth straight defeat.
He also came up with a big hit during a five-run fourth that gave Washington a 5-1 lead.
Zimmerman led off the inning with his 16th home run off Joel Pineiro (0-1), a shot that landed several rows into the upper deck in left field. Dmitri Young singled, and after a pair of outs, Brian Schneider and Nook Logan singled to make it 2-1.
Hanrahan then hit a two-run double to left, and Felipe Lopez followed with a base hit. When Pineiro tried to pick Lopez off first, his throw was high and sailed into short right field, allowing Hanrahan to scamper home.
Pineiro, obtained from Boston on Monday, was making his first major league start in 11 months. He gave up five runs, four earned, on seven hits in five innings.
The Nationals added five more runs in the sixth. Logan hit a run-scoring double, Tony Batista had a pinch-hit single and Ronnie Belliard hit a sacrifice fly, before Zimmerman connected on a two-run homer, the first multihomer game of his career.
Schneider’s two-run home run in the seventh gave Washington a 12-1 lead. It was the second time in the last four games the Cardinals allowed 12 or more runs.
Hanrahan pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, and after Scott Rolen and Chris Duncan led off the sixth with singles, Saul Rivera induced an inning-ending double play.
The Cardinals’ Albert Pujols missed the game with a sore right elbow. It was the first game he missed this season. Meanwhile, St. Louis infielder Aaron Miles pitched a perfect eighth inning. Washington tied a season-high with five hits in both the fourth and sixth innings. They have four five-hit innings.
... The Nationals turned four double plays for the third time this season. ... The 12 runs Washington scored were the second most this season.