WASHINGTON -- The Cardinals used three hits from third baseman David Freese and a three-inning stand by Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs and closer Jason Motte to take a 10-9 win over the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
Freese's ninth-inning single scored right fielder Allen Craig from second base after Craig had stolen his way into scoring position.
The Cardinals trailed 4-0, 6-2 and 9-8 and won despite iffy defense and a troubled start by Kyle Lohse, who lasted 5 2/3 innings.
Left fielder Matt Holliday and Freese drove home runs that accounted for four RBI. Freese's second-inning shot not only pulled the Cardinals within 4-2, it ended his team's 40-inning skid without an RBI.
First baseman Matt Carpenter contributed a key three-run double that gave the Cardinals a 6-6 tie in the fourth inning. Craig delivered a go-ahead single. The Cardinals scored more than twice as many runs Saturday than in their last five games combined.
WASHINGTON -- Third baseman David Freese greeted September with a three-hit game that first helped pull the Cardinals from a 4-0 deficit and ultimately gave them a 10-9 lead in the top of Saturday's ninth inning against the Washington Nationals.
After right fielder Allen Craig stole second base without a throw, Freese splintered his bat on a two-strike pitch against reliever Drew Storen. Craig's extra base became key as he scored without a challenge.
The lead was the Cardinals' second of the game. First baseman Matt Carpenter's three-run double and Craig's RBI single accounted for a four-run fourth inning worth an 8-6 lead.
The Nationals tied the game then took the lead during a two-run seventh inning in which it reached starter Kyle Lohse and reliever Marc Rzepczynski for a run apiece.
Rookie Bryce Harper scored the go-ahead run on a hustle play after the Cardinals threw to second base against Ryan Zimmerman. Harper slid under catcher Yadier Molina, who had to retreat to take the throw from second base.
The Cardinals turned a leadoff walk of Shane Robinson in the eighth inning into the tying run when pinch hitter Carlos Beltran delivered a first-pitch RBI single to force a 9-9 game.
WASHINGTON -- Barely able to walk on Thursday, Matt Carpenter lifted the Cardinals from a bad place Saturday afternoon when he delivered a three-run double off Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman to give the visitors a 7-6 lead.
The Cardinals kept going as right fielder Allen Craig completed a four-run inning with a two-out single for an 8-6 fourth-inning lead.
Carpenter sprained his right ankle during pre-game infield Thursday. Friday night he still had trouble walking through the clubhouse. He was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and returned to the Cardinals clubhouse Saturday morning in a better frame of mind.
Carpenter started at first base and contributed a first-inning single following an extended battle against Zimmerman, who allowed eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals entered the game having scored only one run in their last 39 innings. They broke out at an opportune time as a mix of poor first-inning defense and poor pitch location chased him after 5 2/3 innings. Lohse became the seventh straight Cardinals starter unable to clear six innings.
Second baseman Danny Espinosa pulled the Nats within 8-7 with a sixth-inning home run -- the second of the game off Lohse. Right fielder Jayson Werth's two-out double proved Lohse's ouster as lefthander Marc Rzepczynski inherited the tying run at second base.
WASHINGTON -- Left fielder Matt Holliday atoned for his first-inning error by reaching Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman for a two-run home run to center field in Saturday's third inning.
Holliday's 25th home run pulled the Cardinals within 6-4 as the teams exchanged 12 hits through 2 1/2 innings.
Zimmerman entered the start tied for second in NL ERA (2.63) but quickly labored. He has allowed two hits in each of three innings. Zimmerman entered winless in his last three starts and allowed seven earned runs in 15 2/3 innings during the span. he is 0-2 with a 8.62 ERA in three earlier career starts against the Cardinals.
Holliday owns 216 career home runs. This becomes his fifth 25-home run season.
WASHINGTON -- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche added onto a potentially monster game Saturday when he yanked a two-run, two-out home run into the second deck against Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse.
The shot allowed the Nats to restore their lead to four runs, 6-2, after Cards third baseman David Freese halved the edge with a two-run blast in the top of the inning.
Lohse is attempting to become the Cardinals' first starting pitcher in seven games to clear six innings.
Eight of 14 Nats hitters have so far reached base.
The Cardinals managed multiple hits in each of the first two innings but saw a first-inning rally dissolve after Jon Jay was caught stealing on an 0-2 pitch for the game's first out.
WASHINGTON -- One negative streak continued and another ended Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park.
The Washington Nationals used a two-out, two-run error by left fielder Matt Holliday to turn a 1-0 lead into a 4-0 first-inning ambush against starting pitcher Kyle Lohse, who required 28 pitches and a mound visit by pitching coach Derek Lilliquist to escape the frame.
The Nats reached Lohse for four hits but the most serious damage occurred when Holliday muffed Ian Desmond's fly ball at the left field warning track as center field Jon Jay closed on the play. Shortstop Daniel Descalso then booted the next play, a two-hop grounder to further extend the inning. Catcher Kurt Suzuki took advantage with a two-out RBI single to account for the frame's final run.
The Cardinals have allowed eight first-inning runs in the series' first three games.
Having been outscored 36-1 in their last five games, the Cardinals responded with a two-run home run from third baseman David Freese in the top of the second inning. Freese's blast broke a string of 40 consecutive innings in which the Cardinals had gone without an RBI.
The home run was the Cardinals' first since Holliday drove a two-run shot against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. That stood as the Cardinals' last RBI until Freese drove his two-strike blast off Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman.
WASHINGTON -- Catcher Yadier Molina reported less discomfort in his neck while still dealing with left shoulder soreness.
Infielder Matt Carpenter rediscovered the thrill of walking without a limp.
Both players -- one who had been double-switched from the previous two games and the other who hadn't appeared at all -- make their way onto today's lineup card against the Washington Nationals. Manager Mike Matheny didn't pretend that either player is healed. However, Matheny is confident his Gold Glove catcher and most important bench bat are live enough to contribute.
Carpenter starts at first base while Allen Craig shifts to right field in place of Carlos Beltran, who is fighting a 4-for-30 road trip that leaves him without a home run in his last 17 starts. Carpenter arrived at Nationals Park early Saturday morning to receive treatment on his sprained right ankle and to put himself through a series of tests for the Cardinals training staff.
Molina met with Matheny immediately before the lineup card was posted. He admitted still feeling some side effects from a Tuesday collision in Pittsburgh.
The Cardinals also promoted lefthanded reliever Sam Freeman following Friday's 10-0 loss. A recent run on the bullpen forced the club to alter its thinking about September call-ups. Initially, all promotees were scheduled to meet the club in St. Louis Tuesday. Freeman joined the parent club Saturday morning.
The Cardinals have also activated first baseman Lance Berkman from the disabled list. Berkman, sidelined by recurring right knee issues, allowed that he is still experiencing significant issues with the leg. Matheny said he has no immediate plans to start Berkman at first base. The Puma projects as a pinch hitter and will likely require a pinch runner should he reach base.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal suffered a Grade 2 strain of his ulnar collateral ligament and will not play again this season, according to Matheny. Doctors have prescribed an aggressive rehab of 4-6 weeks in an attempt to avoid surgery. Even should the rehab take, Matheny characterized Furcal's possible return for the postseason as a "pleasant surprise" if it occurred. The organization is not promoting the possibility.
P J. Zimmerman
WASHINGTON -- In the aftermath of Friday's 10-0 loss to the Washington Nationals, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny acknowledged that All-Star catcher Yadier Molina continues to display effects from last Tuesday's collision with Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison.
Asked about the three wild pitches that punctuated a grotesque game, Matheny confirmed that Molina continues to deal with discomfort in his left upper body. Starting pitchers Adam Wainwright and relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Trevor Rosenthal each threw a pitch past Molina, who labored to reach for anything elevated. Matheny hinted that me might rest Molina in today's game.
"A lot of it has to do with his left side, his shoulder, taking the brunt of that hit the other day," said Matheny, like Molina a former Gold Glove catcher. "I remember that. Your glove feels like it weighs 10 pounds. You just can't move it. He's been trying to fight through it. But it was a little more obvious [Friday] than it was yesterday. We're going to have to give him time."
Molina contributed the Cardinals' first hit off Nationals lefthander Gio Gonzalez -- a fifth-inning double -- before Matheny double-switched him from a second straight game.
The Cardinals are currently conflicted. They enter Saturday afternoon's game having been outscored 32-1 during a four-game losing streak. Molina is the team's leading hitter and carries an .885 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He has also stolen 11 of 13 attempts.
Utility player Matt Carpenter remains hobbled by a right ankle sprain suffered before Thursday's game. Carpenter, a corner infielder and occasional outfielder, was turning double plays at second base when he rolled his right foot on the bag. He awoke Friday with greater discomfort and swelling in the ankle. His discomfort was significant enough for him to undergo a series of X-rays at Nationals Park. The X-rays proved negative but Carpenter still limped from the clubhouse following Friday's fiasco.
Matheny said Carpenter could have pinch hit Friday but "he isn't running well."
Carpenter's versatility and ability to produce even when used sporadically would be a significant asset at a time when the Cardinals are struggling for offense. However, the ankle prevents him from playing in the field.
"I'm not so interested in shaking things up as I am in giving guys a day [off] to gather themselves. He has been our go-to guy," Matheny said. "In the corners of the outfield and in the corners of the infield there are a couple of guys who could use a day. And that certainly takes that option away. We have some other players we'll be adding to that soon. It's time to grind. There is nothing easy about this. Nobody expected it to be. We've got to push. We've got to push right now."
Allen Craig has started 11 consecutive games. Right fielder Carlos Beltran has started 10 straight games. Third baseman David Freese is the only corner starter to have recent down time. He made only one plate appearance Aug. 25-27 after taking a pitch off his left hand in Pittsburgh.
Carpenter, the Cardinals' only player to have started at five positions this season, insisted the condition wouldn't necessitate a stay on the disabled list if it had occurred earlier in the season. He hoped to become available to play in the field before the series concludes Sunday.
"I thought it was going to be better today and it's actually worse," Carpenter said. "I could hit on it if necessary. Nothing's broken."