|St. Louis (77-55) «||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||x||2||4||0|
ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright made the most of his 28th birthday and bobblehead day, becoming the majors' first 16-game winner.
"Adam by far is the best pitcher I've faced this year," Nationals leadoff hitter Willie Harris said. "That's why he's where he is right now."
Albert Pujols had the go-ahead single on a hit-and-run play in the sixth and Colby Rasmus had two hits and scored twice for the NL Central leaders, who have won five of six and are 29-4 since July 1 in starts by their top three -- Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Joel Pineiro. Pujols had two hits and was 5 for 10 in the series with an RBI in each game, including a game-winning ninth-inning homer on Friday.
St. Louis was 20-6 in August with a day off Monday, and the .769 winning percentage is the best for that month in franchise history. They're a season-best 22 games above .500 and their 10-game lead over the Cubs is their largest since the end of 2005, when they finished 11 games ahead of Houston.
The Cardinals won on only four hits while leaning on the pitching staff, also limiting the Nationals to four hits. They needed only three hits to beat the Astros 1-0 on Tuesday, getting eight scoreless innings from Wainwright.
"Adam rose to the occasion," manager Tony La Russa said. "Again."
Elijah Dukes had an RBI single for the Nationals, who have lost 10 of 13 and finished 1-6 against St. Louis. Washington was held to seven runs in the series after totaling 24 runs while taking two of three at Chicago the previous series and is 14-14 this month, needing a win on Monday at San Diego for their first winning month since September 2007.
Wainwright (16-7) is 4-0 in his last five starts and has worked at least six innings in 26 consecutive starts, the best streak in the majors. Wainwright is 43-23 since moving to the rotation in 2007 after getting the last out in the 2006 World Series as the closer.
He, Carpenter and Pineiro are a combined 43-19.
"We've got a lot of talented pitchers in this league, and on this team even," Wainwright said.
Wainwright's outing against the Nationals is tied for his shortest in the last 13 starts, and he faltered at the finish with consecutive walks to Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham setting up Dukes' game-tying two-out hit.
"I didn't do anything particularly well," Wainwright said. "I just had a good team behind me. That was what I did on the bump, play for the Cardinals."
The Nationals didn't have a runner in scoring possession until the sixth against Wainwright, who allowed a run on three hits with seven strikeouts and three walks. In his last eight starts, he's 6-1 with a 1.31 ERA and his overall 2.47 ERA is fourth best in the NL.
Ryan Franklin escaped a bases-loaded situation in the eighth and retired the last four outs for his NL-leading 35th save in 37 chances. Franklin has a save in his last 11 appearances.
Left fielder Matt Holliday protected the lead on Willingham's two-out double off the wall with a man on and two outs in the eighth, blocking the carom with his leg and then getting the ball in quickly.
Rasmus singled off Garrett Mock (3-6) and went all the way to third on Pujols' dribbled infield hit before Ankiel's one-out sacrifice fly in the fourth, his first RBI in six games.
Dunn walked three times for the eighth time this season and the 43rd time of three or more. He has an NL-leading 100 walks.
|Adam Wainwright is 4-0 in his last five starts and has worked at least six innings in 26 consecutive starts. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Willie Harris, CF||5||0||0||0||0||2||2||.226|
|Cristian Guzman, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.302|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.299|
|Adam Dunn, 1B||1||1||0||0||3||0||0||.282|
|Josh Willingham, LF||3||0||1||0||1||2||1||.291|
|Elijah Dukes, RF||2||0||1||1||1||0||1||.245|
|Pete Orr, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||6||.545|
|Sean Burnett, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mike MacDougal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Josh Bard, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.236|
|Garrett Mock, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||.059|
|a- Mike Morse, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.200|
|Tyler Clippard, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ronnie Belliard, 2B||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.246|
|a-grounded out for Mock in the 7th|
|2B - Josh Willingham (27, Franklin)|
|RBI - Elijah Dukes (52)|
|2-OUT RBI - Elijah Dukes (25)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Zimmerman-Belliard-Dunn|
|E - Cristian Guzman (18, Misplayed grounder), Garrett Mock (2, Throwing)|
|Garrett Mock (L,3-6)||6||4||2||2||1||5||0||5.01|
|WP - Garrett Mock (8)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Garrett Mock 99-62, Tyler Clippard 10-7, Sean Burnett 5-1, Mike MacDougal 11-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Garrett Mock 7-6, Tyler Clippard 2-2, Mike MacDougal 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Garrett Mock 23, Tyler Clippard 4, Sean Burnett 1, Mike MacDougal 2|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Skip Schumaker, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.295|
|a- Julio Lugo, PH-2B||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.292|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||3||2||2||0||0||0||0||.255|
|b- Ryan Ludwick, PH-RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.262|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||4||0||2||1||0||0||0||.320|
|Matt Holliday, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||3||.308|
|Rick Ankiel, RF-CF||1||0||0||1||1||1||1||.229|
|Khalil Greene, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.211|
|Mark DeRosa, 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.261|
|Yadier Molina, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.283|
|Brendan Ryan, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.293|
|Adam Wainwright, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.151|
|Kyle McClellan, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Trever Miller, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ryan Franklin, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-walked for Schumaker in the 8th|
|b-grounded into a double play for Rasmus in the 8th|
|SF - Rick Ankiel (3)|
|RBI - Albert Pujols (110), Rick Ankiel (35)|
|SB - Albert Pujols (14, 3rd base off Mock/Bard)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Adam Wainwright (W,16-7)||6||3||1||1||3||7||0||2.47|
|Kyle McClellan (H,13)||1.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||3.11|
|Ryan Franklin (S,35)||1.1||1||0||0||1||1||0||1.05|
|HBP - Dukes (by Adam Wainwright)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 109-65, Kyle McClellan 21-15, Trever Miller 7-3, Ryan Franklin 23-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 8-3, Kyle McClellan 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 25, Kyle McClellan 5, Trever Miller 1, Ryan Franklin 6|
|Attendance - 41083|
|Game Time - 2:47|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Brian O'Nora|