Werth's bat, Ross' arm lead Nationals past Cardinals 6-1
ST. LOUIS (AP) Jayson Werth is finding his stroke for a team that wrapped up a big first month.
Werth's three-run home run capped a four-run first inning and Joe Ross had another stingy outing for the Washington Nationals in a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
''The way things have been going, I feel like I can't just catch a break,'' Werth said. ''I think it got us going, it got me going. Hopefully I can build on that and we can get this thing rolling.''
Ross (3-0) allowed one run on six hits in six innings, raising his ERA to 0.79. He has given up only two runs in 22 2/3 innings and bounced back nicely after skipping a turn because of a blister on his middle finger.
''I felt good, I felt pretty strong,'' Ross said. ''There wasn't really like an inning or two of trying to settle in, so I think the time off, I guess, paid off for me.''
Manager Dusty Baker said he just kept an eye on the right-hander.
''He got out of trouble a couple times and made some pitches when he had to,'' Baker said. ''He wasn't on a pitch limit, he was kind of on a performance limit.''
Werth added an RBI single in the eighth, his fifth in the first two games of a weekend series and 10th of the year, and raised his batting average to .211. With the victory, Washington clinched its first series win in St. Louis since May 25-27, 2007. It goes for a sweep Sunday after raising its record to 8-24 at 11-year-old Busch Stadium.
The NL East leaders are 16-7, their best start since moving from Montreal in 2005.
''You can't win anything in April, but you can lose it,'' Werth said. ''We've got great chemistry.''
Opponents had been 2 for 13 with no runs in the first against Jaime Garcia (1-2) before the Nationals jumped on the lefty for four runs on three hits. Daniel Murphy had an RBI single before Werth hit his fourth over the left-field wall on a 2-1 changeup.
''I thought it stayed too much in the middle of the plate,'' Garcia said. ''I've just got to make a better pitch there.''
The Cardinals had two hits, a sacrifice bunt and Matt Carpenter's sacrifice fly for a run in the fifth.
Garcia gave up only one more hit before leaving after 6 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking three. He entered the game 4-1 against Washington.
''My job is to keep us in the ballgame and give us a chance to win,'' Garcia said. ''I didn't get the job done.''
Yadier Molina singled and doubled for an 11-game hitting streak and has reached safely in a career-best 18 straight games.
Carlos Martinez was given permission to leave the Cardinals on Friday to attend to a personal matter. Manager Mike Matheny said Martinez would start Sunday's series finale.
Aledmys Diaz singled in the ninth for his 30th hit in April. Albert Pujols is the only other Cardinals rookie to do it, with 34 hits in 2001.
St. Louis CF Jeremy Hazelbaker had two errors, one fielding and one throwing, and the second miscue resulted in an unearned run in the eighth. Randal Grichuk struck out pinch hitting in the seventh and is hitless in his last 16 at-bats.
Nationals C Wilson Ramos remained on the bereavement list while in Venezuela following the death of his grandfather.
Washington RHP Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.35) is 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two career starts in his hometown. Martinez (4-0, 1.93) is among six pitchers in the majors to win the first four starts of the season.