The only drama the Cardinals brought into the late innings this time against host Washington was entirely their own.

In their first visit to the nation’s capital since ousting the Nationals from the playoffs last year with a historic rally that included four runs in the ninth inning, the Cardinals needed a night free of anxiety. They needed a game free of bullpen teeters and free of the late-game tumbles that have corrupted their record so far this season.

They needed relief. And in a 3-2 victory against the Nats, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and current closer Edward Mujica provided.

Mujica pitched a calming ninth and combined the trio handled 2 1/3 scoreless innings to reward rookie Shelby Miller with a victory for his superb, eight-strikeout start.

“We try to stay on the same message,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said less than 24 hours after an eighth-inning quagmire in Philadelphia led to a loss. “Those close and late losses hurt, but we don’t get down too far. You’ve seen this team. They’ve been able to be pretty resilient. They bounce back quickly. The same thing goes for successes. You don’t get too high on them.”

Allen Craig drove in two runs and catcher Yadier Molina snapped a 2-2 tie with a sixth-inning RBI single.

With the bullpen’s support, that was enough offense to back Miller (3-1), who relied predominantly on his peppy fastball to confound Washington.

The win kept the Cardinals from losing consecutive games for the first time since the first week of the season.

The Cardinals won only their second one-run game of the season.

Both have been saved by Mujica.