Nationals squeak past AstrosApr 19, 2012 - 5:41 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Wilson Ramos' sacrifice fly in the eighth inning was the difference as the Washington Nationals topped the Houston Astros, 3-2, in the third of a four-game series at Nationals Park.
Jayson Werth and Roger Bernadina knocked in the other runs for Washington, which improved to 10-3 on the season.
Ryan Mattheus (2-0) earned the win despite allowing a run in an inning of relief, while Henry Rodriguez tossed a perfect ninth inning to record his third save of the year.
"I definitely think it builds confidence. It's good for this team to get wins like that, especially early in the season," said Werth. "We'll take the wins as we can get them right now and hopefully they'll keep coming."
Jordan Schafer had two hits and an RBI in the Astros' fourth straight loss and their seventh in the last eight games.
Fernando Rodriguez (0-2) suffered the loss, giving up two runs in 1/3 inning of relief.
Jordan Zimmermann got the start for Washington and allowed one run on four hits through seven innings, while Lucas Harrell gave up a run on four hits and three walks in a 6 2/3-inning start for the Astros.
The Nationals entered the bottom of the eighth inning trailing, 2-1, after Schafer's RBI single in the top of the frame, but quickly loaded the bases with a walk by Danny Espinosa, a single by Ryan Zimmerman off and an Adam LaRoche walk off new pitcher Wesley Wright.
Rhiner Cruz then took the mound and issued a free pass to Werth, scoring Espinosa. Rick Ankiel followed with a grounder to second that Jose Altuve fielded and threw home for the force out before Ramos lifted a fly ball to center field to plate LaRoche and give Washington a 3-2 lead.
In the ninth, Henry Rodriguez fanned Justin Maxiel, got Carlos Lee to line out to center and induced a Brian Bogusevic grounder to second to close the door for the Nationals.
"We're in every game. We just have to do the little things right throughout the game to get wins there," Schafer said.
Houston manufactured the game's first run in the fourth inning when Schafer led off the frame with a bunt single before stealing second and coming home on back-to-back groundouts by Jed Lowrie and Travis Buck.
Washington stranded a runner in scoring position in the first, second and fifth innings, but was finally able to get the big hit it needed in the seventh to tie the game at one.
After Ankiel hammered a one-out double off the base of the center-field wall, he advanced to third on a balk by Harrell during a Ramos at-bat.
Ramos eventually struck out, but Bernadina followed by slapping a double into left field to bring home Ankiel.
Fernando Rodriguez then entered the game in relief of Harrell and walked pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi before getting Ian Desmond to pop out in foul territory to keep it a 1-1 game.
The Nationals have now won their first four series to start the season...Werth went 0-for-2 to snap his nine-game hit streak...Washington went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base...Houston hit 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded three.
- HOUSTON: 2
Apr 18 9:48 PM
- Wilson Ramos sacrifice fly to center scored Adam LaRoche with two outs. Runners on first and second and Roger Bernadina due up.
Astros 2, Nationals 3 Bot 8, 2 OutsApr 18 9:39 PM
- Jayson Werth walk scored Danny Espinosa with none out. Bases loaded and Rick Ankiel due up.
Astros 2, Nationals 2 Bot 8, 0 OutsApr 18 9:36 PM
- Jordan Schafer single to right scored Jason Castro with two outs. Runner on second and Jed Lowrie due up.
Astros 2, Nationals 1 Top 8, 2 OutsApr 18 9:15 PM
- Roger Bernadina double to left scored Rick Ankiel with two outs. Runner on second and Jordan Zimmermann due up.
Astros 1, Nationals 1 Bot 7, 2 OutsApr 18 8:54 PM
- Travis Buck ground out first to pitcher scored Jordan Schafer with two outs. None on and Carlos Lee due up.
Astros 1, Nationals 0 Top 4, 2 OutsApr 18 8:00 PM
- HOUSTON: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Apr 18 7:06 PM
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