• First baseman Ryan Zimmerman's previously unknown case of plantar fasciitis in his left foot had flared up.
• Starter Max Scherzer gave up the go-ahead run in the sixth after jamming his pitching hand while batting in the fifth.
Various injuries in recent seasons played a part in Zimmerman shifting to first from third. He described his new malady as a "bone bruise on my heel." Zimmerman said he's never dealt with this type of foot injury and has been dealing with this "the past four or five days."
"It's been fine. This morning obviously it was a little bit worse," he said after going 1-for-4. " I wasn't moving around that well. I feel fine at the plate, it's just obviously running the bases today wasn't that great. We'll just treat and try and keep it under control."
The Cardinals jumped on Scherzer with two hits to start the game including a double by leadoff batter Matt Carpenter, all leading to a quick 1-0 lead.
That margin held until the fifth when Denard Span singled home Danny Espinosa from third and sent Scherzer from first to third. Despite having the likes of Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Zimmerman coming to the plate, the Nationals never hit the ball out of the infield against Michael Wacha.
The Cardinals did just that in the top of the sixth with two singles sandwiching a hit batter including Matt Adams' RBI single.
Scherzer pitched that inning with some discomfort after he "jammed" his thumb at the plate during his fifth inning at-bat.
"It shouldn't be too serious," he said after falling to 1-2 despite a 1.26 ERA over four starts. "I look forward to getting out there and pitching my next start."