Rendon's Four Hits Power Nats Past Astros

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[May 01, 2014]  HOUSTON  Anthony Rendon wanted to give his personal cheering section a little more to enjoy in the second game of his first-ever series in his hometown.

The Washington Nationals third baseman delivered.

With an estimated 300 friends and family in the stands for the second game in a row, Rendon went 4-for-5  finishing a triple short of his first cycle  and the Nationals rolled to a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

Rendon, a native of Houston, hit a single and two doubles in the first four innings before launching his fourth home run of the season, an opposite-field shot in the sixth. In the eighth, he just missed his second homer of the game, flying out to the warning track in left field.

"It was good to get the first (game) out of the way," said Rendon, who played at Rice University in Houston. "I have to say that I am a little upset that I couldn't get a little more action headed their way with a little more cheering (Tuesday in Washington's 4-3 win). I relaxed more today and get some hits."

Jordan Zimmermann (2-1) pitched 6 1/3 innings for the Nationals (16-12), who swept the Astros in their first visit to Houston since 2012. Washington won for the fifth time in seven games.

Zimmermann allowed seven hits while striking out seven and walking one in his first quality start since April 14 at Miami.

"I didn't feel as good as I would have liked," Zimmermann said. "They got me some runs early, so I settled down. The first inning I threw 20-some pitches, and basically the whole night I was battling back to get the pitch count to where I wanted it to be."

Zimmermann recorded his 45th win in a Nationals uniform, making him the winningest pitcher since the team moved from Montreal to Washington, D.C., after the 2004 season.

Center fielder Denard Span, left fielder Kevin Frandsen and second baseman Danny Espinosa also had multi-hit games for the Nationals, who have 126 runs in 28 games, a 4.50 average that is good for third in the National League.

First baseman Jesus Guzman had three hits for the Astros (9-19), who lost for the 12th time in 16 games. Houston did not record an extra-base hit until Guzman doubled in the eighth. Shortstop Jonathan Villar added two singles for the Astros, who were shut out for the third time this season.

Zimmermann, who gave up a combined seven runs (four earned) in his previous two starts, allowed two one-out singles in both the fourth and fifth innings. He got out of both trouble spots, but when Houston did the same thing in the seventh, Washington manager Matt Williams went to the bullpen. Right-hander Aaron Barrett got the next two outs to keep the shutout intact.

Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer (0-5) allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up 11 hits and walked two.

Oberholtzer worked out of trouble in the first two innings, but the Nationals answered with six runs in the next three innings to chase the second-year lefty.

Span led off the third with a triple to right-center and scored after Astros rookie right fielder George Springer mishandled the ball three times.

"I think we just have to do a better job of coming out and being ready to play and not trying to win a ballgame coming from behind in the later innings," Oberholtzer said. "This is the big leagues; guys are ready to attack."

An inning later, Rendon hit a two-run double  his third hit of the game  to make it 4-0. Rendon hit Oberholtzer's 1-2 offering into the corner in left to score catcher Sandy Leon and Span.

"(Rendon) swings the bat well," Oberholtzer added.

Designated hitter Jayson Werth followed with an RBI single to center.

Espinosa hit a solo homer to left in the fifth before the Astros went to the bullpen.

"It looks like (Oberholtzer) has gotten away from pitching over the inner third of the plate," said Astros manager Bo Porter. "When you get predictable to one side of the plate, major league hitters are going to take advantage of that. He left some balls up."

NOTES: Astros RHP Scott Feldman (biceps tendinitis) was set to come off the disabled list to pitch Sunday, but the team said it plans to give Feldman (2-1, 1.69 ERA) a few more days to get ready for his next start. ... Nationals manager Matt Williams kept 1B Adam LaRoche out of the lineup Wednesday due to a sore quad muscle. Williams said the extra day of rest would give the muscle a chance to "calm down a bit." ... Washington's 3-2 win over Houston on Tuesday was the Nationals' eighth come-from-behind victory of the season. Only the Milwaukee Brewers (nine) and New York Mets (nine) have more among National League teams. ... Houston's Jose Altuve has committed just one error since July 9, 2013, and his .998 fielding percentage is tops in the majors among second basemen during that time.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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