"I was trying to stay as far away from Tony and Dunc (pitching coach Dave Duncan) as I could," said Lohse, who added that he didn't want to give either a chance to change his mind about Lohse staying in the game.
Lohse was scoreless through four innings before finally surrendering the only Washington run in the fifth. Four Cardinals relievers -- Kyle McClellan, Russ Springer, Mark Worrell and Ron Villone -- each worked a scoreless inning, with the sidearming Worrell's appearance marking his major league debut.
Yadier Molina, continuing to hit near .300, struck the most damaging blow, a three-run homer to highlight a four-run first inning.
The Cardinals have made it to 10 games over .500 for the fourth time this season, and Todd Wellemeyer, the National League Pitcher of the Month for May, will take a shot at getting the Cardinals 11 over on Wednesday night.
The inclement weather and sloppy track in Washington was a reason for La Russa to remove Albert Pujols in the fourth inning after he had been hit in the back by a pitch. Pujols actually was taken out to rest an ailing left calf, which he tweaked early in the game. If it is rainy and sloppy again Wednesday, it is possible Pujols wouldn't play.
La Russa wasn't entirely happy with how long it took the grounds crew at new Nationals Park to get the field ready for play after the first delay.
"I don't think anybody did anything on purpose," he said, "but once it stops raining, you've got to get back out there."
CARDINALS 6, NATIONALS 1: Yadier Molina drove in three runs with a first-inning homer and Ryan Ludwick, who had been 3 for his last 24, had his second consecutive multi-hit game (two doubles) and drove in a run. Cesar Izturis had three hits and swiped home as part of a double steal. The Cardinals took an early 4-0 lead for the second night in a row, but after it got away on Monday, Kyle Lohse and four relievers made it stand up on Tuesday.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Matt Clement, recovering from his shoulder surgery of 2006, made his long-awaited debut on a medical-rehabilitation option, working six innings of one-hit, scoreless ball for Class A Palm Beach. Clement tossed 73 pitches and fanned five, walked none and reportedly threw his fastball in the 88 mph range.
--RHP Jason Isringhausen, who has been rehabilitating a lacerated right hand at the Cardinals' spring camp in Jupiter, Fla., is about ready for a rehab assignment in the minors. "He's definitely doing things that are encouraging," general manager John Mozeliak said.
--INF Brendan Ryan, bothered by neck and back soreness, was held out for a second consecutive game.
--CF Rick Ankiel, who has had a scarred left hand after making a spectacular catch Sunday, played the last six innings in the field although he went hitless in two at-bats. He entered after 1B Albert Pujols left to rest an ailing left calf.
--1B Albert Pujols was 0-for-2 against Washington LHP Odalis Perez after Pujols had been 14-for-21 with five homers in regular-season play against Perez in his career. That doesn't include a postseason homer in 2004.