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WSH@STL: Fister on pitching and hitting in the NL

After allowing 30 runs across six games to begin June, the St. Louis pitching staff has quieted opposing bats, yielding seven runs in the six games since.

In four of the last six games, opponents have been shut out, running the season total for Cardinals pitchers to 14, the most in the Majors.

Sunday's starter, Jaime Garcia, was part of one of those shutouts, going seven scoreless innings last Sunday against Toronto. Garcia (2-0) allowed three hits and three walks while striking out four in what was his best start of the season since returning from a shoulder injury.

The three hits allowed were the fewest for Garcia since an April 2, 2013 start against Arizona, and he overcame his struggles giving up the long ball, allowing five dingers in his five starts.

For the Nationals, Doug Fister (5-1) will take the mound in his first career start against the Cardinals. St. Louis is one of just three teams Fister has not faced after he spent the first five years of his career in the American League. He has not faced the Cubs or the Dodgers, either.

Fister's first start of the season on May 9 was a rocky outing, as he lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs in earning the loss against Oakland. Since then, though, Fister has been nearly untouchable.

In his last six starts, he is 5-0 with a 1.83 ERA, 29 strikeouts, just three walks and a 0.92 WHIP. The Nationals are 6-1 when Fister takes the mound.

Nationals: Looking to end trip strong
Washington began its 10-game road trip by taking five of the first six games, but has since lost three in a row -- one in San Francisco and two in St. Louis.

"It's important for us to end the road trip on a good note," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "Given the fact that we looked at this one and said, 'This is an important one, and so far we've played pretty decent. ... We'd go home on a really positive note."

The Nationals are 19-15 at home this season and 16-17 on the road. They will begin a six-game homestand Tuesday against the Astros before welcoming Atlanta in for four games. The Nationals and Braves are tied atop the National League East.

Cardinals: Power still missing from St. Louis lineup
While the Cards' pitching staff is clicking, their hitters have not had the same success.

St. Louis ranks 29th in the Majors with 38 home runs, while its 252 runs are fifth worst in the National League.

"It just seems universally the ball is just not carrying for whatever reason," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We're talking about a lack of home runs with some of our guys, but we've got some balls hit hard enough. They come off the bat and you think, 'That ball's gone.' And it's not."

Only one Cardinal (Jhonny Peralta) has double-digit home runs, and Matt Holliday and Allen Craig are the only players with 30-plus RBIs.

Worth noting
• Washington's bullpen ranks first in the Majors in ERA, posting a 2.36 mark.

• The Nationals are 30-2 when scoring four runs or more, and 5-29 when scoring three or fewer.

• Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams has hit a homer in each of the last two games, both St. Louis wins.

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