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Cards homer early as Wainwright cruises in win

Cards homer early as Wainwright cruises in win

JUPITER, Fla. -- On the day he was officially announced as the Cardinals' Opening Day starter, Adam Wainwright tossed six strong innings in the Cardinals' 5-1 victory over the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium on Friday.

Wainwright was efficient as he cruised through six innings, his longest start of the spring. He limited Washington to three hits and one run, which scored on a groundout in Wainwright's final inning on the mound. That is the only run that has scored off Wainwright in his last two outings -- a combined 10 2/3 innings.

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"I set out today with a goal of commanding the strike zone on both sides of the plate," Wainwright said. "I wanted to work up in the zone. I wanted to work my fastball up and down. And I feel like I did that for the most part."

Nationals starter Dan Haren wasn't as sharp, and the Cardinals jumped on him for four first-inning runs. Jon Jay, who was celebrating his birthday on Friday, led off the inning with a homer over the right-field wall. After singles by Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams delivered a three-run shot, also to right.

The home run was the third of the spring for Adams, who is battling for a bench spot.

Haren settled down from there, allowing only two other hits over his final four innings. The five-inning appearance was Haren's longest of the spring.

Edward Mujica, who had been charged with 10 runs in his previous four innings, struck out the side in a scoreless seventh for St. Louis. The Nationals received a scoreless relief appearance from Yunesky Maya.

Up next: Lefty Jaime Garcia will look to keep building upon his strong spring when he starts against the Tigers on Saturday at Roger Dean Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT. Marc Rzepczynski is also scheduled to take the mound in what will be his first appearance since suffering a left eye injury on March 8. Rzepczynski was cleared by an eye doctor on Friday to resume pitching in games.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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