Gibson wins second straight, improves to 7-3


Staff report

WASHINGTON (AP) — Greenfield’s Kyle Gibson won for the second straight time and the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Washington Nationals 8-3 on Sunday.

Kyle Gibson (7-3) finished five innings plus three batters, allowing three runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts and two walks on 96 pitches, 61 for strikes. In his first win in three starts at Nationals Park, Gibson has now won three of his last four dating to June 14.

“My stuff was consistent again,” Gibson said. “Curveball was maybe my best pitch and that doesn’t happen very often so that’s probably why you saw a little bit more of them. That’s something I worked a lot on in the bullpen.”

Gibson is 2-0 in July and 6-1 in his last seven decisions.

His next scheduled start, and last before the MLB All-Star break, is Saturday, July 13, in St. Louis, against the Chicago Cubs. Hayden Wesneski is slated to go for Chicago.

Gibson pitched against the Cubs on June 14 in Chicago and had one of his best outings of the season in a 3-0 Cardinals victory.

He pitched two-hit ball over seven innings and had six strikeouts and only one walk.

On Sunday, St. Louis designated hitter Willson Contreras hit his second homer of the series, a line drive 395-foot homer off Nationals reliever Derek Law in the seventh. He also singled and scored twice with three RBIs. The two-run shot was his ninth of the season and third homer in the past five days. Contreras said he recently switched from 33.75 inch to 34-inch bat.

“He got me a little out front,” Contreras said. “But I used a (34-inch bat) and I was able to stay through the zone long which helped me to make contact with that curveball right there. Because being honest, I wasn’t looking for curveball at all.”

Nolan Gorman added a single, double and two RBIs. Gorman has enjoyed his stay in D.C. over the weekend, going seven for his last 11 after a 6-for-69 (.087) slump from June 12-July 4. He has reached base safely in 46 of his last 50 games.

Nolan Arenado has also had a great series against the Nationals. The veteran third baseman had a two-run single in the three-run fifth inning. He has seven hits in the series.

“There was a decent amount of fight in them (Saturday),” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said on the bounce back following 14-6 loss. “Today some really good at-bats. We’d been missing out on that two-out big hit to score a couple and Arenado came through there and drove the baseball to score two. Gorman is starting to feel better, you see him stay on some balls, which is awesome. Contreras with the homer. Overall, really good day.”

The Cardinals have won five of their last seven and have the best record in the National League since May 12 at 32-18 (.640).

Three Cardinals relievers combined to record the final four scoreless frames.

The Associated Press contributed to this report