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Lombardozzi leads Nationals over Astros

Apr 17, 2012 - 11:49 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Steve Lombardozzi went 4-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored to lead the Washington Nationals past the Houston Astros, 6-3, in the opener of a four-game set.

Ryan Zimmerman also knocked in a pair of runs, while Wilson Ramos had a solo home run for the Nationals, who improved to 8-3 on the season to record their best start since moving to Washington from Montreal in 2005.

Stephen Strasburg (2-0) allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five through six innings. Henry Rodriguez worked a scoreless ninth to earn his second save of the year.

Chris Johnson knocked in three runs for Houston, which lost for the fifth time in six games.

Kyle Weiland (0-2) gave up six runs on 10 hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings to absorb the loss.

Houston trailed, 2-0, entering the sixth inning but managed to fight back in the frame after loading the bases with no outs on consecutive singles by Jordan Schafer and Jed Lowrie, and a walk by J.D. Martinez.

It looked like Strasburg would get out of the inning unscathed as he induced a flyout to center by Carlos Lee and fanned Travis Buck, but Johnson then slapped a base hit into right that plated Schafer and Lowrie.

Jason Castro's soft liner to short ended the inning and kept it a 2-2 game.

The tie was short-lived, however, as Washington loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the frame on a Rick Ankiel single and walks by pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina and Ian Desmond. Lombardozzi blooped a double into shallow left field that landed just inside the line to score Ankiel and Bernadina.

"I won't be forgetting this night any time soon," said Lombardozzi. "And to do it at home in front of the fans makes it that much better."

Zimmerman followed with a base hit up the middle to bring home Desmond and Lombardozzi, giving the Nationals a 6-2 lead and knocking Weiland off the mound.

"After tying it up that was the last thing I wanted to do," said Weiland. "I started to press too much, especially when they started hitting, and I just couldn't get anything to work for me."

After the Astros stranded a runner on second base in the seventh inning, they were able to get a run back in the eighth when Ankiel misplayed a Johnson fly ball to center field that allowed Buck to round the bases.

Johnson got a triple out of the play, but was stranded at third as Tom Gorzelanny struck out Castro and Xavier Nady made a running grab of a Jose Altuve fly ball to left to end the inning.

Rodriguez worked around a two-out walk by Lowrie by striking out Martinez on three pitches to close out the victory.

Washington opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning after Desmond pulled a one-out double into left field.

Lombardozzi stepped up next and sent a bunt down the third-base line that Weiland fielded, but his hurried throw to first went wide to the right, allowing Desmond to score.

Ramos' blast over the right-center field wall in the fourth inning gave the Nationals a two-run advantage.

Game Notes

Martinez went 0-for-4 to snap his nine-game hit streak. His streak was the longest season-opening hitting streak by an Astro since Craig Biggio's nine- game streak in 2005...Johnson extended his hit streak to nine games...The Astros went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.