HOUSTON (AP) — Ronnie Belliard capped a five-run first inning with a two-run homer, and Austin Kearns had three hits as the Washington Nationals hung on to beat the Houston Astros 7-6 on Thursday night.
Washington roughed up Astros rookie Juan Gutierrez in his first major league start, tagging him for another run in the third. The Nationals took three of four in the series against the Astros after losing five of their previous six games.
Carlos Lee hit a pair of two-run homers, the second with two outs off closer Chad Cordero in the ninth to make it 7-6. But Cordero got Orlando Palmeiro to pop out for his 28th save in 36 chances.
Lee also hit an RBI single in the seventh off Luis Ayala, as the Astros lost for the sixth time in nine games.
Rookie John Lannan (2-2) worked in and out of trouble, giving up three runs, five hits and five walks while winning for the first time in four starts. He picked up his first victory on Aug. 1.