Washington, DC – Yadier Molina drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the first inning, and the visiting St. Louis Cardinals rode an early outburst to a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals.
Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter each had three hits for the Cardinals, who swept a three-game road series against the Expos/Nationals for the first time since Sept. 26-28, 1969 at Montreal.
Jayson Werth clubbed a solo home run for Washington, which, at 10-11, has fallen below .500 for the first time since finishing the 2011 season with an 80-81 record.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg (1-4) gave up three runs and three hits in the opening frame. He settled down to allow two more hits over his final six innings, but still absorbed his fourth straight loss.
"We had a tough task of going out and beating a tough pitcher," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "The guys played extremely well."
Carpenter sent Strasburg's second pitch of the game to left field and was fortunate to be standing at second base. He would have been out had Danny Espinosa held onto Bryce Harper's throw.
Holliday singled with one out and Carlos Beltran walked before Molina put St. Louis on the board with a blooper down the right-field line. Daniel Descalso then hit a chopper to third and Beltran scored when Anthony Rendon made a wide throw to second.
St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia (2-1) tossed five scoreless innings before the Nationals scratched out a run in the sixth. Strasburg and Denard Span began the frame with back-to-back singles before consecutive groundouts by Werth and Harper produced a run.
After walking Tyler Moore, Joe Kelly replaced Garcia and fanned Ian Desmond to shut down the first-and-third threat.
The Cardinals went up 4-1 in the eighth as an infield single by Holliday plated Carpenter.
Werth took Trevor Rosenthal deep to left field in the bottom of the inning, but the Nationals went down in order in the ninth, with Edward Mujica earning his fourth save.
"We're not doing the things we're capable of doing. Guys are trying to do too much," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of his struggling offense.
The Nationals have lost six straight at home ... St. Louis finished its road trip with a 6-3 record ... Garcia scattered four hits over 5 2/3 innings ... Strasburg, winless since Opening Day, struck out seven ... Washington was 0- for-7 with runners in scoring position.