Center fielder Rick Ankiel continued his eye-popping play, making a dazzling catch in the outfield and driving in two runs with a homer and a double. "He's unbelievable," right-hander Adam Wainwright of the converted pitcher. "He's a joke."
The Cardinals' five-game winning streak is the longest in the majors, and it put them four games over .500 for the first time since they closed the 2006 season at five over.
New third baseman Troy Glaus had only four hits in 21 at-bats (.190) for his first week as a Cardinal, but he made two strong defensive plays Sunday. He sprawled to his left for Austin Kearns' hard grounder in the fourth and turned it into an inning-ending double play. And, in the eighth, Glaus made a barehand pickup of Felipe Lopez's slow roller and threw Lopez out.
Glaus said he was more concerned with the five wins than the batting average.
"We'd all like to get off to good starts," he said. "They say in football, you've got offense, defense and special teams. Here, you can play both sides of the ball. Not letting one in means you're still one ahead."
CARDINALS 3, NATIONALS 0: The Cardinals tossed their second shutout in four games, as Kyle Lohse still is unscored on in 12 innings. Though the offense went just 1-for-13 with men in scoring position, Rick Ankiel doubled home a run from first and hit a solo homer, and Yadier Molina delivered a sacrifice fly.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Russ Springer, who worked in three of the first four Cardinals' games, was placed on the 15-day disabled with a nerve irritation in his right elbow. RHP Kelvin Jimenez was recalled from Class AAA Memphis to replace Springer, 39, on the roster.
--RHP Joel Pineiro, who is recovering from some shoulder irritation, will make a medical rehabilitation start for Class AA Springfield on Tuesday night.
--Rookie OF Brian Barton made his third straight start in left field and at the top of the batting order Sunday. After getting three hits in his first two games, Barton singled, walked and scored a run in the first inning.
--CF Rick Ankiel's third homer of the season was his 12th at new Busch Stadium out of the 16 he has hit for his career. The left-handed hitter is batting .333 against left-handers season after batting .391 against them in 46 at-bats last year.
--The Cardinals have scored first in each of their first six games.
--The pickoff by C Yadier Molina of Washington OF Lastings Milledge at first base Sunday was the 20th by Molina in just his fifth season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 300 -- Career doubles for 1B Albert Pujols after hitting one on April 4.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think it will be four new guys." -- RHP Braden Looper, referring to the Cardinals' potential rotation. The current starters all are pitching well, but there are four more on the way when they recover from injuries and surgeries.