Maybe now, teams will finally learn.
Ensberg hit a two-run double in the sixth inning after Livan Hernandez intentionally walked Berkman to load the bases, giving the Houston Astros the cushion they later needed to beat the Washington Nationals 7-6 Wednesday night.
It was the third time since July 8 that Ensberg has made a team pay for intentionally walking Berkman to get to him. The first was a game-winning double against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the second an RBI single against Pittsburgh on July 20.
"It's probably the right move," said Ensberg, who has previously been upset when teams pitched around Berkman. "Lance Berkman is a great left-handed hitter. They're just looking for an out, and the book says go righty versus righty."
Craig Biggio also had a run-scoring double and four hits for the Astros, who resumed their home dominance after dropping the series opener Tuesday. The Astros are 37-16 at Minute Maid Park, where they have not lost consecutive games since June 4 and will play their next 11.
Jose Vidro and Hernandez homered for the Nationals, who are struggling in one-run games. Once baseball's best team in close games -- Washington had a stretch of 12 straight wins in one-run games before the All-Star break -- the Nationals have dropped 13 of their last 14 games decided by one run.
"These will come back to haunt you in the end," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "We just can't keep making mistakes, squandering opportunities, because it will cost us against the better ballclubs."
Washington's first two batters reached in the ninth against Lidge, but Vidro lined into a double play when Berkman -- who moved from left field to first base in the ninth for defense -- made a diving catch and Brandon Watson was caught off the bag.
After Nick Johnson's RBI double and Brad Wilkerson's run-scoring single, Lidge fanned Guillen for his 28th save in 31 chances.
Wandy Rodriguez (7-5) lasted five innings and earned the win despite struggling against Hernandez (13-5). The Nationals' starter also had an RBI double and a single.
But Hernandez's hitting was not enough to make up for dreadful innings in the first and sixth. Orlando Palmeiro cleared the bases in the first with a three-run double deep down the right-field line, capping a four-run inning.
Hernandez is 1-3 in his last seven starts. He allowed seven runs -- five earned -- and 10 hits, the third consecutive start that he's allowed 10 or more hits.
"Nobody is perfect all the time," said Hernandez, whose five earned runs allowed were a season high. "I felt very good tonight but I had lots of problems in the fist inning."
The Nationals have not strung together back-to-back wins on the road since July 3. They are 3-9 away from Washington since the All-Star break and are two games into an 11-game road swing, their longest of the season.
Vidro's homer in the first was his seventh.
|Morgan Ensberg connects on a bases-loaded double as Houston tops Washington. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Brandon Watson, LF||5||0||0||1||0||0||2||.200|
|Jose Vidro, 2B||4||1||2||1||1||0||0||.267|
|Nick Johnson, 1B||5||1||1||1||0||1||3||.314|
|Vinny Castilla, 3B||4||0||2||0||1||1||0||.245|
|Tony Blanco, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.234|
|Brad Wilkerson, CF||5||0||1||1||0||1||3||.257|
|Preston Wilson, RF||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||.251|
|a- Jose Guillen, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.295|
|Brian Schneider, C||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.291|
|Jamey Carroll, SS||3||1||0||0||0||1||2||.240|
|Livan Hernandez, P||3||1||3||2||0||0||0||.237|
|Hector Carrasco, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Joey Eischen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|b- Carlos Baerga, PH||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.268|
|a-struck out for Pr. Wilson in the 9th|
|b-hit by pitch for Eischen in the 9th|
|2B - Nick Johnson (24, Lidge), Livan Hernandez (2, Rodriguez)|
|HR - Jose Vidro (7, Rodriguez), Livan Hernandez (2, Rodriguez)|
|RBI - Brandon Watson (2), Jose Vidro (26), Nick Johnson (47), Brad Wilkerson (44), Livan Hernandez 2 (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Nick Johnson (13), Brad Wilkerson (22), Livan Hernandez (4)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - N. Johnson-Carroll, Vidro-Carroll-N. Johnson|
|E - Livan Hernandez (1, Wild throw)|
|Livan Hernandez (L,13-5)||6||10||7||5||4||5||0||3.51|
|IBB - Quintero by Livan Hernandez, by Berkman, Ensberg by Hector Carrasco|
|Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 118-70, Hector Carrasco 37-20, Joey Eischen 3-3|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 7-6, Hector Carrasco 2-2|
|Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 32, Hector Carrasco 8, Joey Eischen 1|
|Willy Taveras, CF||4||2||3||0||0||0||0||.298|
|Craig Biggio, 2B||5||1||4||1||0||1||2||.273|
|Lance Berkman, LF-1B||4||0||0||0||1||2||5||.294|
|Morgan Ensberg, 3B||2||1||1||2||3||1||1||.295|
|Mike Lamb, 1B||5||1||1||1||0||1||5||.217|
|Brad Lidge, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Orlando Palmeiro, RF||4||0||3||3||0||0||0||.338|
|Adam Everett, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.240|
|Humberto Quintero, C||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.179|
|Eric Bruntlett, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.215|
|Wandy Rodriguez, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.154|
|Russ Springer, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mike Gallo, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Chris Burke, PH||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.236|
|Dan Wheeler, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Jose Vizcaino, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.240|
|Chad Qualls, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brad Ausmus, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.243|
|a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Gallo in the 6th|
|b-flied out for Wheeler in the 7th|
|2B - Craig Biggio (31, Hernandez), Morgan Ensberg (24, Hernandez), Orlando Palmeiro 2 (17, Hernandez, Hernandez)|
|SH - Willy Taveras (4), Chris Burke (5)|
|RBI - Craig Biggio (48), Morgan Ensberg 2 (87), Mike Lamb (39), Orlando Palmeiro 3 (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - Craig Biggio (20), Morgan Ensberg 2 (39)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|Outfield Assists - Lance Berkman 1|
|DP - Berkman-Biggio-Lamb, Lamb-Everett, Berkman|
|E - Lance Berkman (7, Wild throw)|
|Wandy Rodriguez (W,7-5)||5||7||4||4||2||1||2||6.18|
|Russ Springer (H,9)||0.2||1||0||0||0||0||0||5.90|
|Mike Gallo (H,4)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.86|
|Dan Wheeler (H,11)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.59|
|Chad Qualls (H,14)||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||3.64|
|Brad Lidge (S,28)||1||2||2||0||1||1||0||2.28|
|HBP - Pr. Wilson (by Russ Springer), Carroll (by Russ Springer), Baerga (by Brad Lidge)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 98-60, Russ Springer 12-7, Mike Gallo 4-3, Dan Wheeler 10-8, Chad Qualls 20-13, Brad Lidge 33-19|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 7-6, Russ Springer 1-0, Dan Wheeler 1-0, Brad Lidge 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 23, Russ Springer 4, Mike Gallo 1, Dan Wheeler 3, Chad Qualls 4, Brad Lidge 7|
|Attendance - 34309|
|Game Time - 3:08|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - John Hirschbeck, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Jim Reynolds|