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June 24, 2017

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Washington Nationals edge St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 in playoff opener

ST. LOUIS, Missouri -- Tyler Moore smacked a two-run single in the eighth inning to give the Washington Nationals a 3-2 victory over St. Louis on Sunday in their Major League Baseball playoff series opener.

Washington took a 1-0 lead over the defending World Series champions in the best-of-five National League divisional series. The winner will face either the San Francisco Giants or the Cincinnati Reds to decide a berth in the World Series final.

The Nationals, whose 98 triumphs were the most of any major league club this season, collected the first playoff victory by a team from the U.S. capital since the 1933 World Series.

"It's huge for us," Moore said. "It gives us a lot of confidence."

In the late NL playoff game Sunday, Bronson Arroyo pitched seven strong innings of one-hit ball and Cincinnati shut out the Giants 9-0 to seize a 2-0 lead in their first round series.

Michael Morse opened the eighth inning for the Nationals by reaching base on an error by Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma and took third on a single by Ian Desmond, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Danny Espinosa.

Pinch-hitter Moore then entered for the Nationals and blasted a two-out line drive hit to right field that brought home the deciding runs.

"I was able to just stick it out, put the bat on one and flair it out to right," Moore said. "I just tried to settle my nerves down and put it in play the best I could."

Washington's Kurt Suzuki singled in Adam LaRoche in the second inning to open the scoring, but the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the second without even needing a base hit.

Washington starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez walked Yadier Molina, Daniel Descalso and Kozma to load the bases, then hurled a wild pitch that allowed Molina to score from third base and the other runners to advance.

Jon Jay followed with a sacrifice fly to send Descalso home with the go-ahead run.

The Nationals loaded the bases in the sixth inning and the Cardinals did the same in the seventh but neither team could take advantage to push across a run.

At San Francisco, Reds pitcher Arroyo struck out four and walked just one to earn his first career playoff win.

Ryan Hanigan posted three RBI, Jay Bruce drove in a pair of runs and Ryan Ludwick added a solo home run for Cincinnati, who won 5-2 in Game 1 on Saturday.

Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner suffered the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk over 4 1/3 innings.

San Francisco now seeks to become the first NL team in division series history to rally from an 0-2 deficit to win the series.

Game three of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Tuesday in Cincinnati.

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