HOUSTON (AP)—The Astros have been getting contributions from a variety of players during their two-game winning streak.
The Astros won consecutive games for the first time since they had a four-game streak May 9-13. They did it with timely hitting and tough pitching, just what manager Brad Mills(notes) has been seeking all season.
“It was nice again to see different guys contribute,” Mills said. “Carlos again with a big home run and Hunter (Pence) with that two-run triple. We’re throwing the ball well. If you could script it, it would be nice to script it like that.
“Anytime you can get the heart of your lineup driving runners, that’s nice.”
Rodriguez (3-7) pitched out of bases loaded jams in the fourth and fifth innings to secure his first victory since May 12. He struck out a season high eight over five innings.
“I felt comfortable with my breaking ball,” Rodriguez said. “That was the most comfortable I’ve been with it all year. The last couple of days I threw it but not like today.”
Rodriguez threw 115 pitches in five innings and wanted to go back out for the sixth. Mills said no.
“We considered it briefly,” Mills said.
Desmond took his foot off second that allowed Pedro Feliz(notes) to be safe on a grounder by Tommy Manzella(notes). Desmond then threw wide to first base allowing Pence to score and Feliz to take third base.
Desmond committed his third error in the seventh, giving him a league-leading 14 errors for the season.
“On the first one, I never touched the base, he was never out, it was part of the rules,” Desmond said. “Berkman doesn’t run that well. I figured if I stayed back I could turn a double play. It took a bad hop on me and ate me up a little bit.”
Rodriguez got off to a shaky start. Nyjer Morgan(notes) singled and stole second to start the game and went to third on a wild pitch. Adam Dunn(notes) doubled Morgan home and Ryan Zimmerman(notes) walked.
Rodriguez then retired nine in a row before he hit Josh Willingham(notes) with a pitch, Desmond doubled and Mike Morse walked to load the bases with one out in the fourth. Rodriguez regained control and struck out Wil Nieves(notes) and Lannan to protect Houston’s 2-1 lead.
“The changeup felt good,” Lannan said. “When I needed to throw a strike, I did. The curve ball felt pretty good. It was an OK outing.
I didn’t feel great. I didn’t feel bad.”
Rodriguez got out of another bases loaded jam in the fifth. With two out, he struck out Willingham on a full count but home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman ruled catcher’s interference on Humberto Quintero(notes) and awarded Willingham first base.
“I didn’t see it,” Rodriguez laughed. “I was happy when I struck out this guy. I went to the dugout and I didn’t see what’s going on. Quintero, said Wandy, come on. I never lost my concentration. I just said put the ball where I want and get this guy out.”
Desmond then grounded out to end the inning.
The Nationals struggled against at the plate.
“It’s tough for the ball club,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “We’re getting a great effort. It’s just not happening right now. We have had the bases loaded many times this series. If we continue to do that, as long as it takes, we’re going to score runs, because we’re going to get hits.”
Notes: The Astros have rallied for 11 of their 18 victories, the highest comeback percentage (.611) in the majors. … Quintero is one of three NL catchers without an error this season. … He didn’t get the victory Tuesday night, but Brett Myers(notes) has gone at least six innings in all 11 starts this season. Willingham has 13 RBIs in Washington’s last 10 games. … Astros third base coach Dave Clark has been named manager of the Licey Tigers for the upcoming Dominican Winter League season. … Nationals left-hander Scott Olsen(notes) has been throwing long toss on the sidelines since being placed on the disabled list May 22 with a left shoulder injury. Olsen says a minor league assignment is a possibility.