Penny, Craig star in St. Louis’ victory over Washington

Chris Duncan hugs his father Dave before today's game. Chris had a rough day at the plate in his team's loss. (Richard Drew/AP)

Today was more of what Brad Penny hoped for when he signed with his childhood team. After getting rocked in his spring debut, Penny came out sharp in his rebound game. He threw four shutout innings and allowed just one hit to help the Cards beat the Nationals 6-4.

His performance on the mound was complemented by an equally impressive day at the plate for rookie Allen Craig. Craig made his spring debut after missing every game to this point due to injury. The rookie did not disappoint. He showed the power that makes him a big league level talent, and left a good first impression on management when the final roster is created.

Craig hit a two-run home run and added an RBI double to finish the day as St. Louis’ offensive star. Colby Rasmus continued his solid play thus far, and Nick Stavinoha upped his hitting streak to seven games. Stavinoha was starting in place of Matt Holliday, who was out with a sore ribcage. Albert Pujols did not play for the third straight game because of back stiffness.

In the bullpen, one man struggled and another dazzled. Ryan Franklin, the team’s closer, gave up three runs on five hits in just 1 1/3 innings. On the bright side, Mitchell Boggs was impressive in striking out the side in the ninth for the save. He should be a big part of the bullpen this season.

Overall, more answers came with another day of work for the Redbirds. More should come tomorrow when the team faces Josh Johnson and the Florida Marlins again. Kyle Lohse takes the ball for St. Louis in the rematch.

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