Davey, Storen don't see NLDS comparisons

WASHINGTON -- If the Nationals were trying to avoid reminders of their loss to the Cardinals in Game 5 of last year's National League Division Series, circumstances dictated otherwise when the teams met for the first time this season on Monday night.

Twice in the game, Washington faced situations involving Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, a thorn in its side during St. Louis' 9-7 comeback win last Oct. 12.

In that series-deciding contest, Kozma stepped in against Nationals closer Drew Storen in the ninth inning, with the scored tied 7-7, runners on first and third and one out. Even after Daniel Descalso stole second, and with Cardinals closer Jason Motte on deck, Nationals manager Davey Johnson elected to have Storen pitch to Kozma, who lined the go-ahead two-run single to right field.

Fast forward to Monday's sixth inning. The Cardinals had scored to take a 3-2 lead and had runners on second and third with two outs when Kozma came to the plate against reliever Craig Stammen. Again, a pitcher was on deck, this time starter Shelby Miller.

Johnson admitted that the parallels "did flash before my mind," at the time, although the exact circumstances were not identical. In this instance, he ordered the intentional walk to load the bases, and Stammen struck out Miller to end the frame.

"It was a little different situation there," Johnson said.

Kozma's next at-bat came leading off the ninth inning against Storen, with the score still 3-2. Storen struck him out on four pitches, catching him looking on a slider, and retired the side in order. He said he was not thinking about his previous encounter with Kozma.

"The guy's getting up there anyways, and I want to strike him out regardless of who it is, what situation it is," Storen said. "Not crossing my mind. If it was, like I said before, I shouldn't be out there."

Jeff Seidel and Andrew Simon are contributors to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.