SPORTS

Washington Nationals score 2 in the 8th, rally past Houston

Ryan Zimmerman slides safely into second for a double. (Photo: Associated Press)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Jayson Werth drew a bases-loaded walk and Wilson Ramos hit a sacrifice fly as the Washington Nationals rallied in the eighth inning and beat the Houston Astros 3-2 Wednesday night for their third straight win.

The Nationals improved to 10-3 - they became the first team in the majors to reach 10 wins this season.

Texas earned its 10th victory later in the evening.

Washington drew three walks in the eighth and scored twice against three Astros relievers.

Houston lost its fourth in a row.

Ryan Mattheus (2-0) gave up two hits and a run in the eighth inning but got the win. Henry Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his third save. Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann allowed one run on four hits in seven innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

The Nationals trailed 2-1 when Fernando Rodriguez (0-2) gave up a walk and a single to the first two batters in the eighth. Wesley Wright relieved and walked Adam LaRoche, loading the bases.

Rhiner Cruz then came in and walked Werth, tying the game at 2. A forceout at the plate left the bases loaded for Ramos, who scored LaRoche with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Houston had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth. Jason Castro led off with a double and Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman held him there with a pair of highlight defensive plays - a sliding catch in foul territory of a popped-up bunt and a diving catch on a sharp line drive - before Jordan Schafer's RBI single that just hopped past the glove of the diving LaRoche at first.

For much of the game, it appeared the two teams were headed for a second straight 1-0 game, as the starters held both offenses in check. Zimmermann and Houston's Lucas Harrell both pitched into the seventh inning, allowing a run apiece.

It is becoming a habitual line for Zimmermann, who is still waiting for his first win despite allowing one earned run over seven innings in each of his three starts this season. In his 21 innings pitched, the Nationals have scored a total of two runs, including one in the bottom of the seventh against Houston.

Rick Ankiel doubled off the wall in left-center field with one out and advanced to third on Harrell's balk. Roger Bernadina tied the game at 1 with a two-out double that ended Harrell's night.

The Astros pushed the first run across in the fourth without getting a ball out of the infield. Schafer led off with an infield single, stole second, then advanced to third and scored on a pair of groundouts to first.

NOTES: Nationals RHP Chien-Ming Wang (left hamstring) threw 35 pitches in a simulated game in Viera, Fla. Washington manager Davey Johnson said Wang would pitch a minor league rehab assignment in five days. ... Johnson said RHP Brad Lidge had suffered from vertigo the past four days, including Tuesday when he earned his second save, but was feeling better Wednesday. ... Houston LF Travis Buck left the game in the middle of the fourth with a mild left hamstring strain after getting an RBI on Schafer's run. ... Houston RHP Bud Norris (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson (1-0, 2.57 ERA) in the final game of the four-game series Thursday.

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