HOUSTON (AP) Ryan Zimmerman insisted that he was hit by a pitch in the 11th inning on Thursday night, and even showed reporters a mark on his finger where he says it hit him.
However, he's glad the people who reviewed the play decided he didn't get hit, because what happened next was a key in lifting the Washington Nationals to a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros.
Wilmer Difo dropped a bunt single to start the 11th before advancing to second on a groundout by Daniel Murphy. It looked as if Tyler Clippard plunked Zimmerman on the hand after that and he took first base. But Houston challenged the call and it was overturned, sending him back to the plate.
Clippard (2-7) struck him out, but the wild pitch allowed him to reach first and Difo to take third. The Nationals went on top 4-3 on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Rendon. They added an insurance run on an RBI single by Matt Wieters.
''It hit me right on the finger,'' Zimmerman said of the play in question. ''(But) it ended up working out better for us so maybe it's karma or something. I don't know. Just glad to get a good win and go home.''
Former Astro Matt Albers (7-2) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win and Sammy Solis allowed a home run to J.D. Davis in the 11th before retiring the next three batters for his first save.
Washington led by two entering the ninth inning before an RBI single by Josh Reddick off Brandon Kintzler and a run-scoring double by Yuli Gurriel tied it at 3-3. Carlos Beltran walked with two outs in the ninth, but Brian McCann grounded out to send it to the 10th.
Houston couldn't get anything going off starter Stephen Strasburg and didn't score until an RBI single by McCann cut the lead to 3-1 in the eighth inning.
Strasburg allowed three hits and fanned seven in six scoreless innings in his second start since missing about a month with an elbow injury.
Michael Taylor added an RBI double to help the Nationals win the interleague series between division leaders 2-1.
Houston starter Dallas Keuchel allowed four hits and three runs - two earned - in seven innings.
Keuchel walked Rendon and Wieters with no outs in the fifth inning before a single by Pedro Severino with one out. Keuchel made an error on that play on the throw to first and it skipped to the dugout, allowing Wieters to reach third and Rendon to score and make it 1-0.
''The throwing error is very uncommon,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ''He's one of the better fielding pitchers in the league. Just a little bit of an awkward throw on a tough play.''
Alejandro De Aza grounded into a force out that allowed Wieters to score to push the lead to 2-0.
Alex Bregman, who finished with three hits, doubled with two outs in the sixth. Strasburg was shaken up on that pitch and grabbed his lower left leg after throwing it. Manager Dusty Baker and team trainers came onto the field and checked on him and he was brought a cup of water that he drank and then spit out. Everyone left after a couple of minutes and he remained in the game and retired Jose Altuve to end the inning.
Baker said he wanted to leave Strasburg in longer but that he was struggling with cramps.
Altuve grimaced in pain after hitting the ball on that play and was removed from the game for the top of the seventh with discomfort in his neck.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer is still dealing with a sore neck and won't start on Friday. Baker said he'll throw a bullpen on Friday and they hope to get him back in the rotation soon.
Astros: C Evan Gattis (concussion) was back in Houston on Thursday after his rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi was cut short as Hurricane Harvey approaches the Gulf Coast. Hinch said he could be activated on Friday. ... SS Carlos Correa (left thumb surgery) began a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Fresno on Thursday. He will likely need several games before returning to the lineup. ... RHP Lance McCullers (back discomfort) is scheduled to start for Fresno on Friday.
Altuve is day to day with his sore neck, but he admitted that he was a bit concerned about it because it's something he's never experienced before.
''You have to be worried,'' he said. ''But to be honest with you, I don't think it's something really bad.''
HOME SWEET HOME
Rendon, who grew up in Houston and starred at Rice, has been great in his career at Minute Maid Park. His performance on Thursday improved his average in five games here to .450 with four doubles, one homer, four RBIs and four runs scored.
Nationals: A.J. Cole (1-3, 5.32 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to take Scherzer's turn in the rotation on Friday when Washington opens a four-game series with the Mets. Cole's last start in the majors came when he allowed six hits and three runs in six innings of a 4-2 loss to the Giants on Aug. 13.
Astros: Collin McHugh (1-2, 4.01) will start for Houston in the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. McHugh yielded six hits in six scoreless innings to get his first win of the season against Oakland in his last start.
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