ST. LOUIS (AP) -Matt Albers pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning for his first major league win and fellow rookie Hunter Pence hit a grand slam for his first career homer in the Houston Astros' 13-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
The defending World Series champions, in last place in the NL Central, have lost six of seven.
The Cardinals also announced during the game that ace pitcher Chris Carpenter will undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery early next week, a procedure that will sideline him at least three months.
Albers (1-1), pitching on three days' rest, allowed three singles in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out two and walked one.
Carlos Lee broke the game open with a three-run double in the fifth to make it 6-0 off Kip Wells (1-6), who allowed seven runs, six hits and four walks in 4 1-3 innings.
Cubs 5, Nationals 3
CHICAGO (AP) - Aramis Ramirez homered and Chicago benefited from three bases-loaded walks by an emergency reliever, and Chicago won for the seventh time in eight games.
Rich Hill (4-1) allowed six hits and a run in six innings, sending Washington to its fourth straight loss.
The Cubs got back to .500 (14-14) for the first time since they were 3-3 on April 8.
Nationals starter John Patterson (1-5) left the game in the third inning with a sore right biceps. Reliever Levale Speigner couldn't find the strike zone as the Cubs scored four times for a 5-0 lead.
Ramirez homered off Patterson to put Chicago ahead 2-0. Jacque Jones and Michael Barrett followed with singles and after Patterson went to a 3-1 count on Matt Murton, a trainer came to the mound and the 6-foot-6 right-hander left the game.
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