Nationals 4, Blue Jays 2

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TORONTO (AP)—It’s taken just six starts for Micah Bowie to double his career win total.

Bowie won his fourth straight decision and the Washington Nationals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Sunday, overcoming Frank Thomas’ record 244th homer as a designated hitter.

“I’m just thankful on Father’s Day to pick up a win, go home and see the family tonight,” Bowie said. “It’s awesome.”

Bowie (4-2) came into 2007 with a 4-9 record in 48 career games over four major league seasons. He started the year 0-2 in 20 relief appearances before moving into the rotation May 20 to replace right-hander Jerome Williams (strained shoulder).

Since then, Bowie has gone 4-0 with a 3.82 ERA.

“I thought my career was over a long time ago,” the left-hander said. “I’ve got to say thanks to (general manager Jim) Bowden for reviving my career. I’m very thankful for the opportunity I’m getting.”

Bowie allowed two runs and four hits over six innings against Toronto, matching his longest start of the season. He walked three and struck out a season-high six.

“He’s got the pitches to do it,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said. “He’s got the good slider and the cutter, a changeup and a fastball in the high 80s. If he can locate like he’s done for the most part, he’s going to get people out.”

Injured pitchers Jason Bergmann (right elbow), John Patterson (right elbow) and Williams could be ready to return by the end of June, meaning Bowie’s spot in the rotation is not secure.

“He’s made a very strong case for himself with the way he’s pitched,” Acta said. “Obviously it’s going to be a tough decision.”

Jesus Colome and Jon Rauch each worked an inning and Chad Cordero got three outs for his 11th save in 16 chances.

Ryan Zimmerman homered for the second straight game as Washington wrapped up a nine-game road trip with a 6-3 record.

“It’s a big step forward for us,” Cordero said. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”

Zimmerman has 33 RBIs in his past 35 games, the most in the major leagues.

“He’s been hot for the last month or so,” Acta said. “He’s a big part of our lineup.”

Thomas tied it at 2 with a solo homer in the third inning, moving him past Edgar Martinez for the most by a DH in major league history. It was his ninth of the season, the 496th of his career and first since May 31 against the Chicago White Sox.

“I’m proud to pass him,” Thomas said. “What a great player he was.”

Thomas wasn’t so proud of Toronto starter Josh Towers (2-5), who allowed four runs and seven hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out four.

Thomas verbally challenged Towers in the clubhouse after Towers gave up two runs on a pair of doubles and a two-out single in the second, allowing Washington to erase a 1-0 deficit.

“I told him ‘Hey man, you got to go out there with some fire and not make similar mistakes,”’ Thomas said. “He was living out over the plate too much early in the game, gave away some runs and that came back to haunt him. The rest of the game he pitched well, hit his spots and pitched with fire. We’ve just got to get him fired up early in the game from now on.”

Towers had no problem with being dressed down by his teammate.

“It needs to be done sometimes,” Towers said. “He’s the guy that’s not afraid to step up and let you know. It’s a good thing.”

Aaron Hill put Toronto in front with a sacrifice fly in the first inning but the Nationals took the lead in the second when Austin Kearns had an RBI double and Tony Batista singled in a run.

Zimmerman’s 12th homer of the season gave the Nationals the lead in the fourth and Ronnie Belliard made it 4-2 with a two-out RBI single in the fifth.

Washington ended a four-game losing streak in Canada, winning in Toronto for the first time since May 22, 2005. Towers also took the loss in that game.

Notes

The Nationals have hit 25 home runs in their past 25 games. … Playing for Triple-A Columbus, Washington minor league outfielder Brandon Watson hit a leadoff single in the sixth inning Sunday off Ottawa’s J.D. Durbin, extending his hitting streak to an International League record 43 games. Watson’s hit broke the 95-year-old record set by Jack Lelivelt of the Rochester Hustlers in 1912.

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