The Houston-area native, who played his college ball in town at
Rice, tallied three RBIs as the Nationals broke a four-game losing
streak with a 6-5 triumph over the Houston Astros on Tuesday.
In three games against his hometown team during his brief career,
Rendon is 7-for-14 with a homer and six RBIs.
"It's just patience -- trying to put the bat on the ball," he said.
"Keep it short and simple is what I try to do. It happened to work
Returning home after a 10-game road trip in which they went 5-5,
capped off by a disappointing three-game sweep at the hands of the
St. Louis Cardinals, the Nationals jumped on Houston early and held
on to win their seventh straight game against the Astros, with
Rendon leading the charge.
After center fielder Denard Span opened the game with an infield
single, Rendon drove a ball into the right-center gap off Houston
starter Dallas Keuchel (8-4) to give Washington a 1-0 lead just two
batters into the contest.
"I think (Keuchel) leads the league in ground-ball outs is what I
heard, so we just wanted to see the ball up and not give into his
game," Rendon said.
Rendon struck again in the sixth, helping the Nationals break the
game open with a two-run double down the left-field line to make it
That seemed to be more than enough, especially with the league's
best bullpen on in relief of starter Tanner Roark (6-4). But Houston
rallied for four runs in the eighth, capped by second baseman Jose
Altuve's fourth hit of the night, a two-run double that closed the
gap to 6-5.
"(Altuve) can hit," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "It doesn't
matter who's out there -- he's one of the best hitters in baseball."
However, right-hander Aaron Barrett got right fielder George
Springer to line out to end the threat, and Rafael Soriano pitched
the ninth for his 14th save.
"It was a great job of battling and that's a really good bullpen
they have over there," Porter said. "For us to be able to mount the
comeback and have an opportunity there, I'm really proud of our
Combined with Atlanta's loss to Philadelphia, Washington (36-33)
jumped back into first place in the NL East.
"I don't think you're ever supposed to pay attention to that -- at
least I don't," Rendon said of the standings. "I just take it one
game at a time and if we come out on top at the end, hooray for us."
[to top of second column]
Left fielder Ryan Zimmerman added two RBI doubles, as the Nationals
broke out of an offensive funk that resulted in them scoring just
three runs during the sweep by the Cardinals.
"I wish we were going to score six runs every game, but I can tell
you right now we're going to have three or four more games a couple
of times this year where we're going to score one or two runs,"
Zimmerman said. "It's going to happen, but we have to keep doing
what we're doing and trust that it will come around."
Keuchel, who came into the game sixth in the American League in ERA,
gave up four runs and six hits in five innings to see his ERA rise
"I was kind of battling, trying to find my stuff all night," he
said. "I was fortunate to get through five, especially with the way
I was pitching and that lineup."
NOTES: Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg was emotional Tuesday while
discussing the death of Tony Gwynn, who served as Strasburg's coach
at San Diego State. "He was like a god to me," he said. ... 2B Jose
Altuve was back in the lineup after missing the previous three
starts with a bruised right hand. ... Astros manager Bo Porter made
his first trip back to Nationals Park after serving for two years as
the Nationals' third base coach. "We had some really good times
here," he said. ... Washington LHP Gio Gonzalez will be activated
from the disabled list Wednesday, and he will start against Houston.
He has been out since May 18 due to left shoulder inflammation. ...
Nationals OF Bryce Harper took swings in the hitting cage for the
first time since going on the DL in late April because of a thumb
sprain. ... "Duck Dynasty" stars Willie and Jep Robertson were
guests in the Nationals' clubhouse. They are friends of Washington
1B Adam LaRoche, an avid hunter.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.