for this game

Rookie Lannan, Nationals hold off Astros

Aug 24, 2007 - 4:41 AM By Andrew J. Ferraro PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Washington Nationals went to work in the first inning on Thursday night and gave rookie starter John Lannan plenty of support.

The Nationals scored five runs in the first off Juan Gutierrez, who was making his first major league start, and cruised to a 7-6 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Washington took three of four games in the series and finished the season 5-2 against the lowly Astros, who have lost four of their last five.

Austin Kearns continued his hot streak with three hits and Ronnie Belliard added two - including his eighth homer of the season - as the Nationals improved to 19-7 in their last 26 games against teams outside the National League East Division.

"We jumped on (Gutierrez)," Belliard said. "He was throwing strikes. Especially a rookie, he's going to try work that zone. We just kept coming at him as he was trying to make better pitches. He worked the outside and inside corners with his changeup. He had a good changeup and breaking ball."

Kearns is now 14 for his last 26 overall in his last eight games and raised his batting average from .258 to .263 on Thursday.

Lannan (2-2) pitched five innings in his second-shortest outing of the year. He allowed three runs and five hits while walking five and striking out two.

"I struggled with my spots and throwing fastballs for strikes," Lannan said. "I walked too many guys. I was just trying to hold the lead after those six runs. I really was just trying to throw strikes, but I walked five guys."

Reliever Jesus Colome pitched the sixth and Luis Ayala allowed a run in the seventh before giving way to Ray King, who retired the only batter he faced to get out of the frame. Jon Rauch worked a scoreless eighth and closer Chad Cordero surrendered Carlos Lee's second homer of the game - a two-run shot - before recording his 28th save in 36 opportunities.

Gutierrez induced Felix Lopez to fly out to open the game, but it was all downhill after that for the 23-year-old righthander. Nook Logan singled and scored on a double by Ryan Zimmerman, who hit the first of three straight two-base hits for the Nationals.

After Kearns made it 3-0 with a double down the left field line that plated Dmitri Young, Belliard blasted a home run to left.

Zimmerman's sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth increased the lead to 6-0.

Gutierrez (0-1) allowed six runs and 11 hits while striking out four in five innings.

"In the first inning, I threw all my pitches down, and it looked like I just made it easy for them to hit," Gutierrez said. "Yeah, I made some mistakes early and I threw a lot of pitches, and that was against the game plan. But after I settled down, things were fine."

The Astros scored three runs in the fifth to halve their deficit.

After Craig Biggio and Hunter Pence singled and walked, respectively, Lance Berkman hit an RBI groundout. Lee followed with his 25th homer to make it 6-3.

"Lannan's location wasn't there," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "Still, he got it done. He gave up the two-run homer to a very good hitter."

Lee finished with three hits, and his five RBI raised his NL-leading total to 102.

"As a player, it is nice (to be the first NL player to 100 RBI)," Lee said. "There are a lot of things you want to accomplish in your career as a hitter, and especially as an RBI production guy. But this year has not been fun. It just hasn't been fun."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 5 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 7 12 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 2 6 9 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: WAS - JOHN LANNAN, JESUS COLOME (6TH), LUIS AYALA (7TH), RAY KING
    (7TH), JON RAUCH (8TH), CHAD CORDERO (9TH) AND BRIAN SCHNEIDER
    HOU - JUAN GUTIERREZ, MARK MCLEMORE

    Aug 23 11:14 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CARLOS LEE (26) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF CHAD CORDERO SCORED HUNTER PENCE.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 7, HOUSTON 6
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: B MOEHLER (.250, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Nationals vs. AstrosAug 23 11:11 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Nationals vs. AstrosAug 23 11:11 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C LEE ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 7
    HOUSTON 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M MCLEMORE (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Nationals vs. AstrosAug 23 10:23 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY RYAN CHURCH SCORED RYAN ZIMMERMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A KEARNS ON FIRST, D YOUNG ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 7
    HOUSTON 3 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R BELLIARD (.282, 2-FOR-3, HR, 2 RBI)

    Nationals vs. AstrosAug 23 10:08 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CARLOS LEE (25) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF JOHN LANNAN SCORED HUNTER PENCE.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 6, HOUSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: T WIGGINTON (.273, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Nationals vs. AstrosAug 23 9:40 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY LANCE BERKMAN SCORED CRAIG BIGGIO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H PENCE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 6
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.301, 0-FOR-2)

    Nationals vs. AstrosAug 23 9:40 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY RYAN ZIMMERMAN SCORED JOHN LANNAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, N LOGAN ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 6
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: D YOUNG (.333, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Nationals vs. AstrosAug 23 9:10 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 5 5 6 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: WAS - JOHN LANNAN
    HOU - JUAN GUTIERREZ

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C BIGGIO (.256, 10 HR, 46 RBI)
    H PENCE (.326, 12 HR, 46 RBI)
    L BERKMAN (.274, 24 HR, 80 RBI)

    Nationals vs. AstrosAug 23 8:17 PM