Looper, Ankiel Lead Cards Past Nationals

In a 5-4 victory over the Washington Nationals
By Lev Weinstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2008 12:09 AM CDT
St. Louis Cardinals' starting pitcher Braden Looper throws in the first inning against the Washington Nationals in a baseball game Friday, April 4, 2008, in St. Louis.    ((AP Photo/Bill Boyce))
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(Newser) – Braden Looper gave the lightly-regarded St. Louis Cardinals rotation its fourth straight stingy outing and Rick Ankiel hit a two-run home run in a 5-4 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night. The surprising Cardinals are 3-1, two games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2006 season, and handed the Nationals their second straight loss after a 3-0 start.

Despite beginning the year with Chris Carpenter, Mark Mulder, Joel Pineiro and Matt Clement on the 15-day disabled list, Cardinals starters have allowed only two earned runs in 22 2-3 innings. Looper (1-0), beginning his second season as a starter after making 572 appearances as a closer or setup man, allowed a run and five hits in six innings and left leading 5-1.