Cardinals 10, Nationals 9: David Freese belted a two-run homer and snapped a tie with an RBI single in the ninth inning as St. Louis broke out of its offensive funk to end its four-game losing skid.
Matt Holliday also launched a two-run homer and Matt Carpenter ripped a three-run double for the Cardinals, who entered the contest having been outscored by a pronounced 32-1 margin during their losing skid. St. Louis increased its lead for the second wild card to 1 1/2 games over Pittsburgh, which dropped a 3-2 decision to Milwaukee later on Saturday.
Adam LaRoche homered and drove in three runs and Danny Espinosa also went deep. Rookie Bryce Harper recorded his fourth straight multi-hit game and scored twice for National League East-leading Washington, which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end. The Nationals remained 6 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta, which dropped a 5-1 decision to Philadelphia on Saturday.
With the game tied at 9-9 in the ninth, Allen Craig led off the frame with a single and stole second base. Freese then ripped an inside fastball from Drew Storen (1-1) over the glove of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and into left field. Craig came around to score to silence the crowd at Nationals Park.
The late rally allowed Mitchell Boggs (3-1) to pick up the victory after one scoreless inning of relief. Jason Motte retired the side in the ninth inning for his 32nd save.
After his RBI single tied the game in the sixth inning, Zimmerman was caught in a rundown as catcher Yadier Molina threw to second base. Harper, who was standing at third base, alertly sprinted for home and beat the relay which caromed off the glove of Molina to pitcher Fernando Salas.
St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse's eight-game winning streak remained intact despite yielding eight runs in 5 2/3 innings.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Washington's Jordan Zimmermann permitted a career-high eight runs on as many hits in 3 2/3 innings. The outing was the shortest for Zimmermann since September 2010. ... The Cardinals previously lost five in a row from May 29-June 3. ... St. Louis activated veteran 1B Lance Berkman from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game. Berkman has been plagued by a balky right knee. ... The Cardinals recalled LHP Sam Freeman from Triple-A Memphis. ... Washington brought up LHP John Lannan, C Sandy Leon and OF Eury Perez from Triple-A Syracuse and activated INF Mark DeRosa from the 15-day disabled list.