Watch: Matt Adams' homer in first AB off DL is difference in Cards-Nats pitchers' duel
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The Cardinals and Nationals combined for just five hits against Jordan Zimmermann and Lance Lynn on Friday night. Matt Adams, in his first game off the disabled list where he spent 15 days with a calf strain, had two of them. The first of those two was the above 420-foot solo home run, which accounted for all of the scoring in the Cardinals' 1-0 win.
Adams' homer came in the bottom of the second, but for the first six innings, the bigger story in the game was the performance of Lynn, who retired the first 16 men he faced before Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton singled with one out in the sixth. Lynn, who struck out eight and walked none, would allow just one more baserunner. He surrendered a seventh-inning single by Jayson Werth, before yielding to Trevor Rosenthal, who picked up the save in the ninth.
Zimmermann was nearly as good except for the bottom of the second inning, which also saw him allow a single (erased by a double play) and a walk (stranded). Outside of the Adams home run, Zimmermann didn't allow another runner past first base. Outside of the bottom of the second, he allowed just one other baserunner, Adams' fifth-inning single, which was erased by another double play. Zimmermann shut out the Padres in his last start and has now completed eight or more innings in all three of his starts this month. The only run he has allowed over that span came on Adams' home run in this game. With both Lynn and Zimmermann dealing, Friday night's game was over in just two hours and three minutes.
Adams' return restores a key bat to the heart of the Cardinals order, but it also resulted in the removal of a potentially significant bat from their roster. Oscar Taveras, the game's top hitting prospect who was called up to fill in for Adams, was optioned back to Triple-A to make room. After homering in his second major league at-bat, Taveras managed just one more extra base hit, a double, in 38 subsequent plate appearances and returns to the minors having hit .189/.225/.297 in his first major league exposure. Taveras' return to the minors should help assure he will not be arbitration-eligible as a Super Two player after the 2016 season.