• My Scores
  • Golf
  • MLB
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • NFL Draft

Houston at Washington

Scoreboard
Houston010000000130
Washington «00000104x560

Nationals 5, Astros 1

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

WASHINGTON -- Roy Oswalt was cruising through the Washington Nationals lineup with incredible efficiency, seemingly on pace for the shutout.

Then came a moment of indiscretion so stunning it froze the umpires. With two outs in the sixth inning and an 0-2 count on Alfonso Soriano, the Houston Astros ace interrupted his windup and started walking toward baserunner Damian Jackson on third.

That's a balk. Jackson was awarded home to tie the game, Oswalt was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth, and the Nationals exploited the Astros' bullpen with a four-run eighth to take a 5-1 victory Wednesday night.

"I knew I did it," Oswalt said. "I've never lost a game because of balking, but we pretty much lost the game right there. We had complete control of the game and with two strikes on Soriano, I thought I could get him fishing at something outside of the zone. We should have won that game, 1-0. I felt I had good enough stuff where I felt I could keep them off the bases."

As obvious as the balk was, Oswalt nearly got away with it. The umpires were silent until Nationals manager Frank Robinson walked onto the field and approached home plate umpire Larry Young, who called the other three umpires together before pointing Jackson home.

"It should have been called by me initially," Young said. "We saw it on replay. It was an obvious balk. I didn't call it. I had a question in my mind whether he was on the rubber or not, but I deferred to my partners. They said he was definitely on the rubber, so therefore it was a balk, but I feel in retrospect that I should have avoided that situation altogether by calling it immediately because it was so obvious."

Oswalt was otherwise masterful, allowing two hits, striking out seven and facing only two batters over the minimum over seven innings. He had retired 14 straight batters before Jackson doubled to open the sixth and advanced on a groundout to set up the balk.

"We were glad to see him go," Robinson said. "He was almost unhittable."

With Oswalt gone, Ryan Zimmerman led off the eighth with a triple off Dan Wheeler (0-3). Jackson struck out, then Brad Lidge came on and failed to retire any of the four batters he faced, allowing RBI hits to pinch-hitter Daryle Ward, Soriano and Royce Clayton and allowing another run on a wild pitch. Lidge's ERA ballooned to 6.53, and the Astros are 1-2 at the start of their 10-game road trip.

"We had a team that was really flat after thumping them on Monday night, and we put them back in the series," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "And now we have to scramble just to split with them."

The Nationals won their fourth in five games, but they had to wonder if some sort of hex was afoot when two starters left early with bizarre injuries.

Right fielder Jose Guillen could only play two innings because of an eye injury, suffered when he tried to scratch his left eye with his batting glove during batting practice. Catcher Wiki Gonzalez was gone after three innings, injured when he was hit in the head by Preston Wilson's backswing in the second. Gonzalez was diagnosed with a mild concussion and a strained neck muscle.

But Nationals rookie starter Mike O'Connor kept the Nationals competitive with six strong innings, allowing three hits and only one run -- Morgan Ensberg's second-inning homer, his 16th of the season. The win went to Gary Majewski (2-2), one of four Nationals relievers who combined to pitch three scoreless innings.

Still, the Nationals doubt they could have won without the balk.

"What surprises me about that call is that nobody said anything in the first place," Garner said. "OK, he balked, but none of them? I understand Larry's point, he can't see when he's on the rubber. But the other two guys at first and third, they've got to see it and somebody's got to say something."

Notes

Washington's Santiago Ramirez, one of two relievers brought up from Triple-A New Orleans on Monday, made his major league debut by pitching a scoreless seventh inning. ... Guillen was playing his second straight game after missing five with a strained right hamstring. He struck out in his only plate appearance before leaving with the eye injury. ... The Astros have lost eight of their last 10 on the road. ... The game was the 100th at RFK Stadium since baseball returned to Washington last year. ... Before the game, the Nationals players and front office staff held their first meetings with the new ownership group that is expected to take over in a few weeks. "It was a kind of a quick meet-and-greet," shortstop Royce Clayton said.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Players of the Game
Houston

R. Oswalt
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 1
BB 1
K 7
Washington

A. Soriano
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

CBSSports.com Shop

Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF4000000 .268
Craig Biggio, 2B3010100 .297
Lance Berkman, 1B4000002 .296
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4111021 .277
Preston Wilson, LF4000010 .238
Jason Lane, RF2000100 .203
Brad Ausmus, C3010011 .317
Adam Everett, SS3000002 .221
Roy Oswalt, P2000000 .077
   a- Mike Lamb, PH1000000 .346
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
Totals30131246 
a-popped out for Oswalt in the 8th
Batting
HR - Morgan Ensberg (16, O'Connor)
RBI - Morgan Ensberg (33)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Biggio-Everett-Berkman
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt 7211170 3.36
Dan Wheeler (L,0-3) 0.1111010 5.40
Brad Lidge0333100 6.53
Trever Miller 0.2000000 6.23
WP - Brad Lidge (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 75-55, Dan Wheeler 7-4, Brad Lidge 9-6, Trever Miller 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 12-1, Trever Miller 1-1
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 23, Dan Wheeler 2, Brad Lidge 4, Trever Miller 2
Washington Nationals
Alfonso Soriano, LF4121010 .286
Royce Clayton, SS4011001 .228
Jose Vidro, 2B4000011 .341
Nick Johnson, 1B3000101 .275
Jose Guillen, RF1000010 .213
    Marlon Byrd, RF2000011 .233
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3110010 .259
Damian Jackson, CF3110021 .279
Wiki Gonzalez, C1000000 .229
    Matt LeCroy, C1100101 .260
Michael O'Connor, P1000010 .083
   a- Marlon Anderson, PH1000001 .209
    Santiago Ramirez, P0000000 .000
    Joey Eischen, P0000000 .000
    Gary Majewski, P0000000 .000
   b- Daryle Ward, PH1011000 .257
    Ramon Ortiz, PR0100000 .063
    Chad Cordero, P0000000 .000
Totals29563287 
a-grounded out for O'Connor in the 6th
b-singled for Majewski in the 8th
Batting
2B - Alfonso Soriano (6, Lidge), Damian Jackson (4, Oswalt)
3B - Ryan Zimmerman (1, Wheeler)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (32), Royce Clayton (10), Daryle Ward (5)
Team LOB - 2
Washington Nationals
Michael O'Connor 6311121 2.65
Santiago Ramirez 1000110 0.00
Joey Eischen 0.1000000 7.53
Gary Majewski (W,2-2) 0.2000000 3.14
Chad Cordero 1000010 3.57
WP - Michael O'Connor 2 (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Michael O'Connor 72-42, Santiago Ramirez 19-11, Joey Eischen 6-3, Gary Majewski 6-4, Chad Cordero 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Michael O'Connor 5-11, Gary Majewski 1-1, Chad Cordero 1-1
Batters Faced - Michael O'Connor 22, Santiago Ramirez 4, Joey Eischen 1, Gary Majewski 2, Chad Cordero 3
Game Information
Attendance - 24194
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Larry Young, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez