WASHINGTON (AP) -A night after getting shut out, the
got their offense going.
homered and drove in three runs to help the Astros beat the
6-4 on Saturday night.
''Nothing was running for us yesterday, and today, it seemed to happen,'' said Pence. ''It's baseball. The ball seemed to
bounce in different ways. We had a lot of energy, we played hard and everyone chipped in.''
added two RBIs and
had three of the Astros' 13 hits. Houston has won just three of its last 11 games.
''Everything looks great when you score six runs and win the ballgame,'' Berkman added. ''When you get shut out 10-0, it doesn't
look the same. Certainly, winning covers a multitude of evils and makes you look good.''
(4-3), who had only one victory in his previous six starts, allowed four runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings to earn the
win. He walked one and struck out one.
worked the ninth for his 24th save in 29 tries.
''Wandy ... limited the damage,'' Houston manager
said. ''He didn't give them any crooked numbers. He threw some double play balls. That's what you have to do to prevent teams
from putting crooked numbers up on you.''
(1-2) gave up six runs - four earned - and 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings.
''You learn from failure and I'm starting to learn a lot more. The next start's going to be a lot better.'' said Balester.
homered for Washington, which has lost nine of 12 games. The Nationals hit into four double plays, matching a season high.
Pence's 12th homer of the season erased a 2-1 deficit in the fourth. The Astros sent nine men to the plate in fifth, chasing
Balester, and a throwing error by third baseman
opened the floodgates.
''We had our chances. We just played poor defense,'' Washington manager Manny Acta said. ''I think with the offense we have
we can't afford to be giving 30 outs to the opposition.''
reached on Belliard's wild throw and went to third on Kaz Matsui's double to right. Berkman made it 5-2 with a double to the
bullpen wall in left-center. Lee singled and, two outs later, Pence capped the uprising with an RBI single to left.
Houston strung together three consecutive singles with one out in the first, taking a 1-0 lead on Lee's RBI hit to left.
A sacrifice fly by
tied the game in the bottom of the inning and Belliard led off the second with a double, then scored on
' single to center.
Rodriguez tired in the sixth, when he could retire only one batter and left after loading the bases.
Harris' fifth homer, a leadoff shot to right-center off a 1-2 Rodriguez pitch, made it 6-3.
Paul Lo Duca
singled, Guzman drew a one out walk and Belliard singled before
relieved. Sampson plunked Flores on the left arm with his first pitch, forcing in a run, then got
Wily Mo Pena
to bounce into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.
''That was the at-bat that probably disinflated us. It took all the air out of us right there,'' Acta said. ''(Pena) chased
a pitch low and out of the zone in that situation and made their night, basically. ... Right now, he's just lost at the plate.''
Notes: Houston is 10-1 when Pence drives in two or more runs. ... Washington 3B
, on the 15-day disabled list with a turn muscle in his left shoulder, will begin a rehabilitation assignment with Single-A
Potomac in Salem, Va., on Monday. If all goes well, Zimmerman will move on to Triple-A Columbus and play Thursday through
Sunday. ... Balester got his first major league hit, a third-inning single. ... Houston signed its first-round draft pick,
C Jason Castro from Stanford. He will begin his professional career at Single-A Tri-City. ... Nationals 1B
missed the game with back tightness.