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Rendon, Zimmermann lead Nationals to win

AP - Sports
Rendon, Zimmermann lead Nationals to win
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HOUSTON (AP) -- Anthony Rendon admitted to being a bit nervous Tuesday night in his first trip back to his hometown as a major leaguer.

The second-year third baseman relaxed Wednesday night, and it showed.

Rendon finished a triple shy of the cycle and had four hits, Jordan Zimmermann pitched smoothly into the seventh inning and the Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros 7-0 Wednesday night.

Rendon, who had a cheering section of roughly a couple hundred behind the Washington dugout and down the left field line, connected for a two-run double in a four-run fourth and added a solo home run in the sixth.

The Houston native added a double in the first and a single in the third but flew out to left in the eighth.

''It was good to get the first one out of the way,'' Rendon said of playing in front of his family and friends. ''I have to say that I am a little upset that I couldn't get a little more action headed their way with a little more cheering. I relaxed more today and get some hits.''

Rendon went to Lamar High School, which is just west of downtown Houston and played at Rice University, which is just south of downtown, before being taken sixth overall in the 2011 draft by the Nationals.

Rendon, who played at Minute Maid Park in high school and at Rice, said he was a little anxious and swinging harder Tuesday, which led to a 1-for-5 night.

''I was trying to hit the ball a little too hard,'' Rendon said of Tuesday's game in comparison to Wednesday. ''I slowed things down. You know, more is less, less is more.''

Nationals manager Matt Williams said Rendon can hit the ball line to line, and he proved that using all fields Wednesday for his four hits.

''If you are going to hit the ball the opposite way like he does, it is hard to pull it,'' Williams said. ''He just stays back, doesn't get out there. He sees the ball as long as he can and doesn't have a real long swing.''

Zimmermann (2-1) scattered seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out seven to earn his 45th win with the Nationals, making him the winningest pitcher for the club since the Montreal Expos moved to Washington in 2005.

''I didn't feel as good as I would have liked,'' Zimmermann said. ''They got me some runs early, so I settled down. The first inning I threw 20-some pitches, and basically, the whole night I was battling back to get the pitch count to where I wanted it to be.''

Denard Span and Kevin Frandsen each had two hits and Danny Espinosa also had two hits, including a solo home run in the fifth that chased Brett Oberholtzer (0-5).

Span put the Nationals up 1-0 in the third with a triple to center field, and he scored on an error by George Springer.

Frandsen extended the lead to 2-0 in the fourth, scoring on Jesus Guzman's error after advancing to third on Sandy Leon's single. After Rendon's double, Jayson Werth singled to score the third baseman.

Oberholtzer allowed six runs on 11 hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 4 2-3 innings. The left-hander has struggled his last two starts, allowing 12 runs in 8 1-3 innings.

''I don't think I got away from pitching inside,'' Oberholtzer said. ''I think I threw the ball well to the outer third of the plate today against the righties; the changeup was on. I thought I threw the ball well.''

Guzman had three hits, and Jonathan Villar finished with two hits for Houston.

''We didn't generate much offense, and when we did we just could not get that big hit,'' Houston manager Bo Porter said.

NOTES: Porter said the rotation against Seattle would be Brad Peacock on Friday, Dallas Keuchel on Saturday and Collin McHugh on Sunday. ... Houston pitcher Scott Feldman, who has been on the disabled list retroactive to April 18 with right biceps tendinitis, is going to throw a simulated game on Sunday and ''then we'll go from there,'' Porter said. ''Feldman has had a lot of time off and we just wanted to give him a couple of extra days to continue to get built up and then we'll slide him back in accordingly.'' ... Washington first baseman Adam LaRoche was out of the lineup Wednesday with a quad injury. ''He did it last night running to second on the double,'' Williams said. ''I didn't want to take him out of the lineup but it's probably better to give him two. We're trying to get him as much rest as we can and try to calm it down a little bit.''

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