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Ozuna's 4 RBIs, throw to plate lift Cards over Nats 4-2

Marcell Ozuna drove in four runs and threw out a runner at home plate from left field, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Monday night.

St. Louis maintained a two-game NL Central lead over the second-place Chicago Cubs, who closed within a half-game of the Nationals for the top NL wild card.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez missed the game following a heart procedure in Washington, and bench coach Chip Hale was in charge of the dugout.

St. Louis Cardinals' Marcell Ozuna (23) follows through on a two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP PhotoJeff Roberson)

Ozuna hit a two-run homer in the first off Stephen Strasburg, who walked Dexter Fowler leading off.

Washington tied the score 2-2 on Víctor Robles' RBI single in the fourth and Anthony Rendon's 34th homer leading off the sixth. Ozuna charged on Robles' hit and made a one-hop throw to catcher Yadier Molina, who tagged out Asdrúbal Cabrera trying to score from second.

Fowler walked against Sean Doolittle (6-5) with one out in the seventh, Hunter Strickland walked Paul Goldschmidt with two outs and Ozuna doubled just inside the left-field line, just the second hit in 11 at-bats for the Cardinals with runners in scoring position.

St. Louis Cardinals' Marcell Ozuna hits a ground-rule double to score two runs during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP PhotoJeff Roberson)

Dakota Hudson (16-7) won for the sixth time in seven starts, giving up two runs and five hits in seven innings.

John Brebbia, Andrew Miller and Martínez followed with perfect relief. One day after he was released from a hospital following respiratory problems caused by asthma and allergies, Martinez retired Ryan Zimmerman on a flyout for his 20th save in 23 chances.

Strasburg gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in five innings, his shortest outing since Aug. 3. He is 3-2 in his last nine outings after winning seven straight starts in late June and July, leaving his record at 17-6.

St. Louis Cardinals' Marcell Ozuna (23) and Jack Flaherty (22) celebrate a victory over the Washington Nationals in a baseball game Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP PhotoJeff Roberson)

BASE BURGLERS

Molina, Kolten Wong, Tommy Edman and Dexter Fowler all stole second base, raising the Cardinals' NL-leading total to 109.

UP NEXT

Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (12-7, 3.20) is 1-2 with a 4.89 ERA against the Cardinals. His lone win came in 2016 when he pitched for Arizona.

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Hunter Strickland adjusts his cap after giving up a ground-rule double to St. Louis Cardinals' Marcell Ozuna, scoring two runs, during the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP PhotoJeff Roberson)

Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (9-13, 4.28) beat the Nationals 5-1 on May 1 when matched against Max Scherzer.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Washington Nationals' Asdrubal Cabrera (13) is tagged out at home by St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP PhotoJeff Roberson)