Nats' bullpen holds Cards in 6th, still lead 6-3

Is it fair to suggest that Mike Matheny should have gone with Johnny Allstaff in Game 5?

Of course it isn't. Matheny couldn't have known that Adam Wainwright would blow up, knocked out of the game in the bottom of the third inning. But since Wainwright's exit, reliefers Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal -- he of the 99-mile-an-hour fastballs -- have been perfect, retiring eight straight Nationals.

Which has given the Cardinals, at the very least, hope of getting back into this game. St. Louis scored a run in the third on Matt Holliday's double, and two more in the fifth when Gio Gonzalez's control deserted him. Davey Johnson did stick with Gonzalez longer than he might have, and his patience was rewarded when the pitcher retired Yadier Molina on a fly ball to escape a bases-loaded jam.

That was enough for Gonzalez, though, who'd thrown 99 pitches, including a ton in the fifth.

Considering the importance of this game -- it's the most important game for the franchise since the early 1980s -- now that Johnson's gone to his bullpen, he'll probably go to it a lot more. Craig Stammen came on in the sixth, gave up a leadoff hit before recording a couple of outs, then left in favor of lefty Sean Burnett when Skip Schumaker batted for the pitcher.

Burnett got his man, and so it's still Nationals 6, Cardinals 3 in the bottom of the sixth.

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