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Outlook: Wainwright enjoyed success after return

JUPITER, Fla. -- Riding a four-run second inning off Adam Wainwright, the Nationals defeated the Cardinals, 6-2, at Roger Dean Stadium on Saturday. The meeting was the first between the clubs since October's National League Division Series.

"I realize this is Spring Training," Wainwright said. "When I was younger, I would come in here in midseason form, ready for Game 1. Now it's a process. You work on things. Today I went out with a plan to work on my fastball and really drive it down in the zone and get some ground balls. I got some ground balls, but I left a lot of balls up. Guys, obviously, made me pay for the ones I left up."

Washington starter Gio Gonzalez was more effective than Wainwright, who gave up five runs on eight hits in three innings. Wainwright threw 55 pitches (31 strikes) and allowed home runs to Chris Marrero and Anthony Rendon.

Gonzalez threw 30 of his 52 pitches for strikes and limited the Cardinals to two runs and five hits in three innings. Allen Craig drove in the Cardinals' first run with a first-inning double. He added an RBI single in the third.

The start was Gonzalez's last before joining Team USA to participate in the World Baseball Classic.

Shelby Miller, who is competing for the Cardinals' last open rotation spot, followed Wainwright on the mound and made his spring debut. Miller struck out the side in the fourth on 12 pitches. Ian Desmond tagged him for a home run in a one-run fifth.

Danny Espinosa, Marrero, Rendon and Desmond each finished with multiple hits for the Nationals. Nathan Karns and Ryan Perry contributed scoreless appearances out of the Washington bullpen.

Mitchell Boggs made his final relief appearance for the Cardinals before departing for the Classic on Sunday. Boggs, who will be one of Gonzalez's USA teammates, worked around Rendon's one-out double to pitch a scoreless sixth.

Up next: The Cardinals get another crack at the Nationals on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. CT at Washington's spring home in Viera, Fla. Left-hander Jaime Garcia will make his second Grapefruit League start. He tossed two scoreless innings against Boston on Tuesday. Garcia will be opposed by St. Louis-native Ross Detwiler.

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