St. Louis Cardinals infielder Paul Goldschmidt swings during an at-bat against the Washington Nationals ion Wednesday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 8 (UPI) -- St. Louis infielder Paul Goldschmidt smacked his 35th home run of the season on Wednesday and the Cardinals rallied with a five-run ninth inning for a comeback win over the Washington Nationals.
Cardinals shortstop Tommy Edman delivered the decisive blow with a walk-off, two-run double in the final frame of the 6-5 victory at St. Louis' Busch Stadium.
"We've got our eyes on the standings a little bit," Edman told reporters. "Obviously, putting away the division is the first thing, and getting that bye would be amazing.
"We've just got to continue to play good baseball and hope [the New York Mets] don't play as well as they have most of this year, and I think we've got a shot to overtake them."
The Cardinals have won six of their last seven and nine of their last 11 games and hold a 9.5-game first-place lead in the National League Central.
Neither team scored for the first three innings of Wednesday's game. Goldschmidt then led off the bottom of the fourth with his 400-foot solo shot off Nationals starter Cory Abbott.
Nationals third baseman Cesar Hernandez tied the game with an RBI triple in the top of the seventh. The Nationals added four insurance runs in the eighth and carried a 5-1 edge into the final frame.
Nationals relief pitcher Kyle Finnegan allowed a leadoff single to Cardinals designated hitter Brendan Donovan in the bottom of the ninth. He then walked Goldschmidt, which brought Nolan Arenado to the plate.
The Cardinals third baseman took a sinker for a called strike. He hit the next pitch down the right field line for an RBI ground-rule double.
Left fielder Corey Dickerson plated Goldschmidt on a ground out in the next exchange. Finnegan then issued a walk to Cardinals center fielder Tyler O'Neill. The Nationals reliever struck out second baseman Nolan Gorman on four pitches for the second out of the inning, but could not shut down the rally.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina plated Arenado with an RBI single in the next exchange, which cut the deficit to one run.
Edman then stepped to the plate for the game's final at-bat. He hit the first pitch he saw -- a 97.7-mph slider -- for a game-winning line drive to left field.
Donovan, Arenado and Molina recorded two hits apiece for the Cardinals. Goldschmidt went 1 for 3 with an RBI, two runs scored and a walk.
Cardinals starter Jordan Montgomery allowed just three hits and one run over 6 2/3 innings, but was not on record for a decision.
Abbott allowed five hits and one run over 4 1/3 innings for the Nationals. He also was not on the hook for a decision. Nationals first baseman Luke Voit went 3 for 4 with a home run, two RBIs and one run in the loss.
The Cardinals (81-56) will host the Nationals (48-89) in the series finale at 1:15 p.m. EDT Thursday at Busch Stadium.