Harrison Bader homered to spark a six-run fifth inning as the surging St. Louis Cardinals rallied past Patrick Corbin and the Washington Nationals 6-3 on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series.
Marcell Ozuna put the Cardinals ahead 4-3 with a two-run single. Jose Martinez had an RBI double and Yadier Molina added a run-scoring single off Corbin, who took a 3-0 lead into the fifth.
Michael Wacha (2-0) went five innings after being activated from the 10-day injured list earlier in the day. The right-hander allowed three runs and four hits while striking out five.
Jordan Hicks pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his ninth save.
St. Louis has won three straight and eight of nine, while Washington fell to 1-9 in series openers this year.
After yielding only one hit through the first four innings, Corbin (2-1) let the Cardinals bat around in the fifth. He gave up six runs — five with two outs — in his first loss since joining the Nationals as a $140 million free agent from Arizona.
Following Bader’s solo homer, Corbin got Wacha to ground out but then allowed the next six batters to reach. Matt Carpenter walked and later scored on a wild pitch to Ozuna.
Molina’s single extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying a career high.
Washington took a 3-0 lead in the second on a bases-loaded walk to Corbin and a two-run single by Adam Eaton.
Cardinals: RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement) was set to arrive in Washington. The 34-year-old reliever began the season on a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield, where he had allowed two runs in 11 innings.
Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon (bruised left elbow) was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game and the seventh time in eight after being hit by a pitch April 20 in Miami. “At this point, he’s almost day to day,” manager Dave Martinez said. … RHP Trevor Rosenthal (viral infection), placed on the 10-day injured list Friday, left for extended spring training in Florida without a timetable for his return.
Washington recalled infielder Adrian Sanchez from Double-A Harrisburg. Sanchez was with the Nationals in early April but did not appear in a game. In the corresponding move, the team optioned RHP Erick Fedde — who pitched four scoreless innings on Sunday — to Double-A.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (2-2, 3.96 ERA) is 8-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 15 career games against Washington.
Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-3, 6.00) is still looking for his first win with Washington in his sixth start of the season.