Washington • The Cardinals entered Saturday's game scuffling at the plate and searching for a win. They took care of both those problems.
David Freese homered, drove in three runs and had a go-ahead single in the ninth inning Saturday as the St. Louis Cardinals ended a four-game skid with a wild, 10-9 win over the Washington Nationals.
Matt Holliday also homered and Matt Carpenter had a three-run double for the Cardinals, who had scored only one run during their four losses while allowing 32. Freese, Jon Jay and Allen Craig each had three of the Cardinals' 14 hits.
"I'd say all things considered, the message we have been trying to get our hands around the last few days was just showing life," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I don't know if you can show more life than what they showed today, and heart. I think all things considered, that's as good a win as we've had."
The NL East-leading Nationals led 6-2 in the second inning and, after falling behind by two runs in the fourth, rallied for three in the sixth to take a 9-8 lead. Adam LaRoche and Danny Espinosa each homered for Washington.
St. Louis tied it in the eighth on Carlos Beltran's pinch-hit single off Nationals reliever Sean Burnett. Craig led off the ninth with a single against Storen (1-1). One out later he stole second base and later raced home on Freese's looping hit over the Nationals infield.
"It felt like a playoff game," said Freese, whose single off Drew Storen plated Allen Craig with the decisive run. "The atmosphere, the team we are playing against. They have 80 wins for a reason. We are battling. You are going to trade punches when you got two teams going at it. Today was fun."
Mitchell Boggs (3-1) pitched a spotless eighth. Jason Motte, the last of five St. Louis relievers to follow starter Kyle Lohse, notched his 32nd save.
With the Pirates losing to Milwaukee on Saturday, the Cardinals are one-and-a-half games ahead of Pittsburgh for the final National League wild-card spot
Lohse allowed eight runs five earned and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings. He settled down after allowing six runs through three innings and led 8-6 entering the sixth, but he allowed a solo homer to Espinosa and left two outs later in the sixth after Jayson Werth's double.
Freese homered in the second, but LaRoche countered with his own two-run blast in the bottom of the inning. The Nationals first baseman finished with three RBIs.
"I think the way we were down early, you try and turn the page from the last few games, but the way it started out, it's tough not to say here we go again," Freese said. "But that's not this team."
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