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Washington at Houston

Washington (26-61)0000000000111
Houston (44-44) «10000031x560

Astros 5, Nationals 0

CBSSports.com wire reports

HOUSTON -- As Kaz Matsui hit ball after ball into the stands during a recent batting practice, Astros manager Cecil Cooper teased him about being a home run hitter.

Matsui protested, insisting that he was no home run hitter.

He showed that he can be one Sunday, knocking a three-run shot to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-0 win over the Washington Nationals.

"The was a good thing that it happened," he said through a translator. "I'm not a home a run hitter. I just try to get on base. I've only hit three home runs, but the home run [today] was big."

Matsui's shot into the first row of the stands in right field near the bullpen came in the seventh inning and gave Houston a 4-0 lead. The win gave the Astros a 3-1 series victory over the last-place Nationals. The Astros leave Houston at .500 heading into the All-Star break.

The Astros received another solid start from Brian Moehler (6-5), who allowed seven hits in 6 1/3 innings to win for the fourth time in five decisions. Closer Jose Valverde recorded the last four outs for his eighth save of the season and the 150th of his career.

"Terrific, terrific job by Mr. Brian Moehler today," Cooper said. "We definitely needed it today, and he stepped up in a big way. We were a little short-handed. We only had two or three guys out there in the bullpen and Brian stepped up really huge for us."

Houston added a run in the eighth inning when Lance Berkman scored on a balk by Tyler Clippard, who looked to have lost his balance and almost fell off the mound.

"He caught his spikes on the dirt," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "But all he had to do was release the ball and let it roll and it wouldn't have been a balk. But he's just a kid and he didn't know."

Geoff Blum was hit by a pitch in the seventh before Hunter Pence singled. Ivan Rodriguez struck out before Matsui's homer. Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann (3-4) walked reliever Alberto Arias before he was replaced by Joe Beimel, who finally got out of the inning.

A day after getting their most runs (13) and hits (21) of the season, the Nationals recorded 11 hits but couldn't convert, leaving 13 men on base.

"We had a lot of hits, we just didn't have hits in the clutch situations," said Washington's Wil Nieves, who finished with a career-high four hits. "We had a couple of opportunities with runners in scoring position but we just couldn't do the job."

Nieves singled in the seventh before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zimmermann. Moehler was replaced by Arias, who allowed a single by Nyjer Morgan. Nick Johnson walked to load the bases for the second inning in a row, but the Nationals came away empty again after Ryan Zimmerman popped out and Adam Dunn grounded out.

Houston was helped on that play by shifting the defense to the right to deal with the left-handed Dunn. The shift left Miguel Tejada behind second base and in perfect position to grab Dunn's grounder and get it to Berkman at first for the out.

Johnson doubled to open the sixth inning before Moehler yielded back-to-back walks with one out to load the bases. He got out of the jam by retiring Alberto Gonzalez and Anderson Hernandez to end the inning.

Tejada's single in the first inning scored Michael Bourn and gave Houston a 1-0 lead. Bourn had reached and advanced to second when Gonzalez overthrew first base.

Carlos Lee got a double in the fourth inning on a fly ball to left-center field. The Astros argued that it hit above the yellow line on the wall and should be a home run and the officials reviewed the call. Replays showed it hit below the line and the call stood.

Zimmermann yielded five hits and four runs with six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.


Astros RHP Doug Brocail, on the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw a simulated game Friday. He threw a bullpen session Sunday and said he is feeling great. ... Houston optioned RHP Felipe Paulino to Triple-A Round Rock after the game. The Astros will likely bring LHP Wesley Wright up from Round Rock on Thursday to fill the roster spot. ... Washington will option LHP Ross Detwiler to Triple-A Syracuse and will likely bring up RHP Garrett Mock.

Copyright 2015 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

K. Matsui
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

W. Nieves
AB 4
R 0
H 4
HR 0

Related Video

Washington Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, CF5010003 .280
Nick Johnson, 1B4020101 .305
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B5000005 .288
Adam Dunn, LF4000124 .266
Josh Willingham, RF3010100 .304
Alberto Gonzalez, SS4020004 .333
Anderson Hernandez, 2B4000016 .255
Wil Nieves, C4040000 .261
Jordan Zimmermann, P2010011 .154
    Joe Beimel, P0000000 .000
   a- Cristian Guzman, PH1000002 .304
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Beimel in the 8th
2B - Nick Johnson (15, Moehler), Wil Nieves (5, Moehler)
SH - Jordan Zimmermann (5)
SB - Nyjer Morgan (24, 2nd base off Arias/Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 13
Outfield Assists - Nyjer Morgan 1
DP - Zimmerman-A. Hernandez-N. Johnson
E - Alberto Gonzalez (7, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Jordan Zimmermann (L,3-4) 6.1543361 4.50
Joe Beimel 0.2000010 3.57
Tyler Clippard 1111100 3.86
HBP - Blum (by Jordan Zimmermann)
Pitches-Strikes - Jordan Zimmermann 102-67, Joe Beimel 7-4, Tyler Clippard 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jordan Zimmermann 8-4, Joe Beimel 1-0, Tyler Clippard 1-2
Batters Faced - Jordan Zimmermann 27, Joe Beimel 2, Tyler Clippard 5
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4100022 .286
Miguel Tejada, SS4011001 .329
Lance Berkman, 1B1100300 .271
Carlos Lee, LF4020001 .308
Geoff Blum, 3B3100004 .281
Hunter Pence, RF4110012 .298
Ivan Rodriguez, C4000033 .245
Kazuo Matsui, 2B3123010 .252
Brian Moehler, P1000000 .000
    Alberto Arias, P0000100 .000
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
2B - Carlos Lee 2 (17, Zimmermann, Clippard)
HR - Kazuo Matsui (3, Zimmermann)
SH - Brian Moehler (2)
RBI - Miguel Tejada (49), Kazuo Matsui 3 (21)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Matsui-Berkman
Houston Astros
Brian Moehler (W,6-5) 6.1700220 5.08
Alberto Arias (H,6) 1.1300110 1.57
Jose Valverde (S,8) 1.1100010 3.43
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Moehler 103-64, Alberto Arias 32-18, Jose Valverde 23-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Moehler 10-6, Alberto Arias 1-2, Jose Valverde 1-2
Batters Faced - Brian Moehler 27, Alberto Arias 8, Jose Valverde 5
Game Information
Attendance - 28680
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Jim Wolf, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Field Culbreth