Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Albert Pujols became the fastest player in a number of seasons to hit 400 home runs, but Ian Desmond's single in the bottom of the 13th inning lifted Washington over St. Louis, 11-10, in the opener of a four-game set from Nationals Park.
Desmond finished with four hits and three RBI for the Nationals, who put the brakes on a four-game skid. Roger Bernadina slugged a game-tying two-run blast in the ninth.
Doug Slaten (4-1) got the win with a scoreless inning of relief.
Randy Winn finished 4-for-6 with three RBI, Skip Schumaker also drove in three runs, while Pujols collected two hits and walked three times for the Cardinals, who have lost three in a row and fell four games behind idle Cincinnati in the NL Central.
Blake Hawksworth (4-8) was charged with two hits and the winning run while recording just one out in the 13th.
The Cards' final hurler began the deciding frame by hitting Nyjer Morgan with a pitch before fanning Ryan Zimmerman. Alberto Gonzalez singled to move Morgan to third, and Morgan scored when Desmond drilled a hit off Schumaker's glove with a drawn-in infield.
Schumaker's RBI single in the first got St. Louis on the board before Washington tallied three times in the third on Zimmerman's RBI hit and a two- run single from Desmond.
Pujols began the fourth inning against Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann with a long blast to right for the milestone homer that cut the visitors' deficit to 3-2. Two singles and a hit batter loaded the bases, before Schumaker's base hit plated two. Pedro Feliz added another single and two batters later a Felipe Lopez groundout scored Yadier Molina for a 5-3 game.
Washington then took an 8-5 edge in the seventh as Zimmerman walked, Desmond singled and Ivan Rodriguez walked ahead of Willie Harris' two-run single.
Pujols doubled with one out in the eighth and scored on Winn's two-out RBI single for an 8-6 contest.
Feliz opened the ninth with a single, Aaron Miles followed with a base hit and Brendan Ryan cut the Cards' deficit to 8-7 with a double to left. Jon Jay fanned and Pujols was given a free pass before Matt Holliday was hit on the left wrist to force in the tying run.
Sean Burnett came on only to give up the go-ahead, two-run hit to Winn to make it 10-8 before Molina hit into an inning-ending double play.
Gonzalez began the home half against Ryan Franklin with a single and scored on Bernadina's one-out, two-run shot that landed just over the scoreboard in right.
Pujols, in his 10th major-league season, snapped the previous mark of 11 years to reach the 400-homer plateau last set by Alex Rodriguez in 2005...In addition, the Dominican slugger, at 30 years, 222 days old, became the third- youngest to reach the plateau, after Rodriguez at 29 years, 316 days and Ken Griffey, Jr. at 30 years, 150 days...Holliday left the game with a bruised left hand...Prior to the contest, the Nats officially introduced top-overall pick, 17-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper, who thrilled a crowd in pre-game batting practice by reaching the third deck in right field...Zimmermann, who made his season debut after recovering from Tommy John surgery, allowed seven hits and five runs with four strikeouts in four innings...The Nats optioned pitcher Collin Balester to Triple-A Syracuse late Wednesday to make room for Zimmermann...Cards starter Chris Carpenter yielded 10 hits and six runs -- three earned -- over six full frames.