Albert Pujols hit a two run homer in the first inning, and Rick Ankiel tied the game and gave the Cardinals the lead with a double in the late innings as the Cardinals break out with five runs in the ninth to win 9-4 at Washington Thursday night.

After Pujols gave the Cards a 2-0 lead, Ryan Zimmerman came back with a two run homer of his own off Cards starter Mitchell Boggs to tie the game at 2-2.  Washington would take a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth scoring two more off Boggs who despite giving up the lead also had nine strikeouts.

In the seventh, Ankiel hit a sac fly to score Ryan Ludwick from third after he walked with one out and advanced on a single by Pujols and walk from Chris Duncan.

With the score tied in the ninth, the Cardinals unloaded against former teammate Julian Tavares and the Nats’ bullpen.  After Pujols tapped out to third, Duncan walked after battling off some tough breaking balls.  Ankiel doubled to left to score Duncan to give the Cards the lead.  Then it all fell apart for DC. 

A walk to Joe Thurston and then Jason LaRue got drilled by a pitch to load the bases.  Tyler Greene got on with an infield single that deflected off third basemen Ryan Zimmerman’s glove.  Then a throw home got away allowing not only Ankiel but Thurston to score as well with LaRue going to third.  On came Joel Hanrahan who balked allowing LaRue to score and Greene to move to second.  He promptly stole third  and scored on Brian Barden’s sac fly.

PJ Walters wrapped up the ninth to give Chris Perez his first win of the year.