AP Sports Writer
Adam Wainwright extended his sterling start to the season ? andWashington's mediocre one ? by coming within two outs of his secondshutout, leading the St. Louis Cardinals past the Nationals 2-0 Tuesdaynight.
The right-hander (4-1) lowered his ERA to 1.93 by going 8 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only five hits.
Edward Mujica got the final two outs for his third save.
AllenCraig and Carlos Beltran drove in runs in the fourth off Nationalslefty Ross Detwiler (1-1), who gave up eight hits across six innings.
TheNationals, who led the majors with 98 wins last season and were apopular pick to do well in 2013, lost for the eighth time in their past11 games to fall to 10-10.
How in command has Wainwright been? Hiswalk to Bryce Harper with two outs in the sixth was the pitcher's firstfree pass of the season, and it came in his fifth start, after 34 2/3innings. That loaded the bases for Washington, but no matter: Wainwrightstruck out Adam LaRoche swinging with a high, 94 mph fastball. CatcherYadier Molina pumped his fist.
In all, Wainwright struck out ninebatters ? LaRoche, four times, including in the ninth after Harper'sleadoff double ? and had that lone walk.
For the Cardinals, thisrepresents their first two-game "winning streak" in a while: They hadalternated wins and losses over the previous nine games.
Washington,meanwhile, dropped its fifth consecutive home game, and there even werescattered chants of "Let's go, Cardinals!" among the announced crowd of29,986.
Before the game, Nationals manager Davey Johnson spokeabout some of his hitters and pitchers "trying to do too much," perhapsas a result of the expectations the club faced entering the season,something unprecedented for the franchise since it moved from Montrealin 2005.
"Maybe from everybody picking us as a candidate to winour division," Johnson said, "everybody's trying to be a little betterthan they need to be, instead of just relaxing, going out there anddoing what you're capable of doing."
Of course, it was Johnson whocame up with the phrase "World Series or bust" to describe what theNationals have said will be his final season as their manager.
"Theywin ballgames; I lose 'em. I ain't doing too good here, lately. There'snothing really you can say about it," Johnson added. "Just keep apositive attitude."
Detwiler weaved his way in and out of thefirst three innings, each of which ended with a groundball double play,including a nifty one started by second baseman Danny Espinosa with abackhanded flip from his glove to shortstop Ian Desmond.
A fourth ?and unusual ? double play came in the fifth inning, when Wainwright'ssacrifice bunt with a man on first was fielded by third baseman AnthonyRendon, who threw to Espinosa covering first base for one out. Therunner, Pete Kozma, kept going, and Espinosa threw to Detwiler coveringthird to get him out, too.
In the only early inning without adouble play, the fourth, the Cardinals got to Detwiler with fourconsecutive opposite-field hits by right-handed batters, including therun-scoring double by Craig and single by Beltran.
Wainwright, in contrast, had a much easier time.
Heneeded all of four pitches to record three outs in the fifth inning,for example, as Desmond, Anthony Rendon and Espinosa all grounded out.That gave Wainwright 13 consecutive outs.
And he took only five pitches to get through the seventh against that same trio.
Notes:Some sprinklers in the outfield came on while the Cardinals were takingbatting practice and some pitchers were tossing baseballs out there.... The scoreboard went in and out of service in the first two innings.... Kozma collected two hits and heard more hearty boos again Tuesday atNationals Park, where his two-run single in the ninth inning in Octoberprovided the margin in St. Louis' 9-7 Game 5 victory over Washington intheir 2012 NLDS. "That's a great compliment to him," Cardinals managerMike Matheny said. "Getting booed at home shouldn't be a goal of yours.But getting booed on the road isn't necessarily that bad of a thing."... Wainwright threw a four-hit shutout against Milwaukee on April 13.... Matheny said 1B Matt Adams, who sat out a second game with a soremuscle on his right side, is working with trainers to rehab the injuryand the expectation is that he won't need to go on the DL. ... CardinalsCF Jon Jay was out of the starting lineup, with Shane Robinson playingcenter and batting leadoff. Jay is hitting .197 with a .238 on-basepercentage. "No question, he's searching for a few things on theoffensive side," Matheny said. ... In the series finale Wednesdayafternoon, Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-3, 2.96 ERA) will faceCardinals LHP Jaime Garcia (1-1, 3.22 ERA).
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