Washington at Houston

W: J. Valverde (4-1) L: J. Hanrahan (0-2)
HR: WAS - R. Zimmerman (4), R. Zimmerman (5)   HOU - L. Berkman (11)

Astros 4, Nationals 3

CBSSports.com wire reports

HOUSTON -- Kaz Matsui has dramatically increased Houston's team speed. On Wednesday night, he showed the Astros just how valuable his quickness can be.

Matsui stole second and raced to third on a wild pitch before scoring the winning run on a single by Carlos Lee in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Astros to a 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals.

He reached on a walk.

Matsui, signed in the offseason to replace over-40 stalwart Craig Biggio, has three stolen bases in the last four games.

"A big part of my game is using my speed," Matsui said through an interpreter.

Lee's single, that flew just over the head of Lastings Milledge, gave Houston its fifth straight victory and its 10th come-from-behind win.

Joel Hanrahan (0-2) intentionally walked Lance Berkman after Matsui stole second. Jesus Colome came on in relief and Matsui advanced to third on a wild pitch before Lee's hit. Lee also had the game-winning RBI in Tuesday's win over Washington.

Matsui and Michael Bourn have helped the Astros go from one of the teams least likely to steal a base, to one of the best at the task. Houston is in the top 5 in the league with 32 stolen bases after finishing last season in 25th place with 65. That had four Wednesday.

"That's what speed does for a team," Lee said.

Houston closer Jose Valverde (4-1) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.

Ryan Zimmerman had two homers, the second in the sixth inning to tie it at 3. Zimmerman had two homers in the first three games of the season, but had hit just one in the 29 games since.

Even Zimmerman has been impressed by Houston's baserunning this week.

"I wish we could do that," he said. "They get a man on first and a couple of pitches later, he's in scoring position. They're a smart team, they know what counts to run on."

The Nationals had a chance to take the lead in the seventh, but Bourn's throw from center field to Brad Ausmus beat Wily Mo Pena home and ended the inning.

Astros ace Roy Oswalt allowed six hits and three runs with a season-high nine strikeouts in seven innings. He allowed both of Zimmerman's homers to bring his season total to 11, which ties the major league lead. Oswalt gave up 14 in all of 2007.

"They were just bad pitches, real bad pitches," Oswalt said of the home run balls.

Berkman's homer to the left-field Crawford Boxes in the fourth inning was his eighth consecutive hit, tying a franchise record.

Hunter Pence singled before Ty Wigginton was hit by a pitch. Pence stole third base before Wigginton stole second. Oswalt's single to shallow center scored the pair and gave Houston a 3-2 lead.

Oswalt allowed his 10th homer on Zimmerman's two-run shot to right field in the first inning. Oswalt settled down after the home run, and struck out the next six batters before a double by Felipe Lopez with one out in the third. He retired nine of the next 10, before Zimmerman's second homer with one out in the sixth.

Nationals starter Odalis Perez remains winless in eight starts this season. He allowed five hits and three runs in five innings.

He was ill Wednesday and vomited after the first inning.

"He still gave us a good effort," manager Manny Acta said. "You've got to hand it to him, he was very sick, but he still gave us five good innings."


The Nationals replaced Matt Chico in the rotation with Mike O'Connor. Chico, who moves to the bullpen, was 0-5 with a 6.87 ERA in seven starts this season. O'Connor, who'll start Saturday, allowed one hit and walked one in the sixth. ... RHP Felipe Paulino, on the 15-day disabled list with a pinched nerve in his arm, has begun a throwing program at Houston's spring training complex in Florida. ... The Astros traded LHP Stephen Randolph from Triple-A Round Rock to Philadelphia on Wednesday for a player to be named later. ... Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca was injured while batting in the seventh inning and two fans were ejected for yelling at him. Acta said those fans were "obnoxious" and using "inappropriate language."

Copyright 2017 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.
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Players of the Game

R. Oswalt
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 3
BB 2
K 9

R. Zimmerman
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 2

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Washington Nationals
Felipe Lopez, 2B4020012 .276
Cristian Guzman, SS4110001 .303
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4233011 .239
Nick Johnson, 1B3000121 .213
Lastings Milledge, CF3000011 .256
Austin Kearns, RF4000011 .215
Paul Lo Duca, C3000021 .200
    Wil Nieves, C1000010 .367
Wily Mo Pena, LF4010010 .235
    Jesus Colome, P0000000 .000
Odalis Perez, P2000010 .154
    Mike O'Connor, P0000000 .000
   a- Aaron Boone, PH0000100 .263
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
    Willie Harris, LF0000000 .200
a-walked for O'Connor in the 7th
2B - Felipe Lopez (4, Oswalt), Wily Mo Pena (2, Oswalt)
HR - Ryan Zimmerman 2 (5, Oswalt, Oswalt)
SH - Lastings Milledge (4)
RBI - Ryan Zimmerman 3 (18)
Team LOB - 5
Washington Nationals
Odalis Perez 5533231 3.43
Mike O'Connor 1100100 6.35
Joel Hanrahan (L,0-2) 2.1011530 5.21
Jesus Colome0100000 3.15
IBB - Berkman by Joel Hanrahan, by Berkman
HBP - Wigginton (by Odalis Perez)
WP - Jesus Colome (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Odalis Perez 84-53, Mike O'Connor 24-12, Joel Hanrahan 50-22, Jesus Colome 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Odalis Perez 7-5, Mike O'Connor 2-1, Joel Hanrahan 3-1
Batters Faced - Odalis Perez 23, Mike O'Connor 5, Joel Hanrahan 12, Jesus Colome 1
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5010013 .195
Kazuo Matsui, 2B2100312 .275
Miguel Tejada, SS5000013 .331
Lance Berkman, 1B3121200 .361
Carlos Lee, LF5011024 .276
Hunter Pence, RF3110102 .256
Ty Wigginton, 3B2110100 .237
Brad Ausmus, C2000013 .194
   a- Darin Erstad, PH1000000 .292
    J.R. Towles, C0000000 .171
Roy Oswalt, P3012003 .235
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
   b- Jose Cruz Jr., PH0000100 .091
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Ausmus in the 8th
b-walked for Brocail in the 8th
HR - Lance Berkman (11, O. Perez)
SH - Brad Ausmus (1)
RBI - Lance Berkman (33), Carlos Lee (21), Roy Oswalt 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Roy Oswalt 2 (2)
SB - Kazuo Matsui 2 (6, 2nd base off Hanrahan/Nieves, 2nd base off Hanrahan/Nieves), Hunter Pence (2, 3rd base off O. Perez/Lo Duca), Ty Wigginton (2, 2nd base off O. Perez/Lo Duca)
Team LOB - 12
Outfield Assists - Michael Bourn 1
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt 7633292 5.33
Doug Brocail 1100010 2.75
Jose Valverde (W,4-1) 1000010 4.74
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 97-67, Doug Brocail 17-9, Jose Valverde 16-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 9-2, Doug Brocail 2-0, Jose Valverde 1-1
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 28, Doug Brocail 4, Jose Valverde 3
Game Information
Attendance - 30432
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Charlie Reliford, First Base - Angel Campos, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Brian Runge