Schwarber debuts, leads Nats over Cardinals 5-2

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Washington Nationals' Kyle Schwarber, right, is tagged out at home by St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina to end the top of the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 12, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS – Kyle Schwarber doubled home a run in his delayed Nationals debut, Andrew Stevenson had a pinch-hit homer and Washington beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 Monday night.

Schwarber, Josh Bell and Josh Harrison were in the starting lineup after being sidelined for Washington’s first six games by a coronavirus outbreak that prompted the postponement of the team’s season-opening series and left the club short-handed. The Nats ended a five-game skid, while the Cardinals lost their third straight.

“We talked about it before the game: Fresh start for all of us, our guys are back,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “So let’s forget about the first six games and start today.”

Stevenson hit his first homer of the season into St. Louis’ bullpen in right field leading off the seventh inning, putting Washington ahead 4-2. The solo shot was just his fourth homer in 221 career at-bats.

Kyle Finnegan (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up a run on one hit. He struck out two.

Schwarber, acquired in the offseason after the Chicago Cubs declined to offer him a contract, hit a 1-0 pitch from starter John Gant into right-center to drive in Juan Soto, who singled to start the sixth.

“I felt like a lot of guys had great at-bats all night, working deep counts and making that guy grind out there,” Schwarber said. “You know, that’s contagious.”

The Nationals added a run on the next pitch from reliever Giovanny Gallegos when Starlin Castro hit a sacrifice fly to foul territory in right, driving in Bell.