Jackson's shaky start dooms Nationals in 11-4 loss

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 20, 2012
Edwin Jackson's home debut for the Washington Nationals was about as good as it gets. His follow-up started nearly as bad as possible. The right-hander gave up five runs on six hits - three of them triples - to the Houston Astros in the opening inning. Reliever Tom Gorzelanny gave up another five runs in the sixth and the Astros cruised to a 11-4 win Thursday night. It was the first-inning barrage that really hurt Washington, boosting the Astros' confidence after Washington won the first three games of the series. ''I wasn't erratic. I was around the strike zone,'' Jackson said. ''I was in a position to put people away, and I didn't.'' In his previous start Saturday, Jackson (1-1) threw a complete game two-hitter against the Reds. He showed some of that form again, allowing one hit in four innings after his rocky first and retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter. ''He was unhittable the rest of the way,'' Washington manager Davey Johnson said. The Nationals entered with a major league-leading 1.92 ERA, but they allowed more runs or hits than they had in any of their first 13 games. Washington had won eight of nine. Jose Altuve started the big first inning with a one-out triple and scored on a single by J.D. Martinez. Carlos Lee singled and Brian Bogusevic hit a two-run triple. Matt Downs followed with the third triple of the inning and Jason Castro added an RBI single. The three triples in an inning were a franchise record, and the 13th time the Astros had three triples in a game. Houston, which had lost four straight, also set a season high for runs and hits (17). Bud Norris (1-0) pitched six innings for the win and drove in a pair of runs. Bogusevic and Castro each had three hits for Houston. Washington managed a run off Norris in the second when Wilson Ramos' RBI single scored Adam LaRoche. The Nationals closed within a run on Ryan Zimmerman's long three-run homer in the third. ''It just wasn't our night. They kept tacking on runs,'' Zimmerman said. ''The starters aren't going to have a 1-something (ERA) all year. They're still very good, and I can't wait for Edwin to pitch 30 more times. It happens.'' In the sixth, the Astros scored five times off Gorzelanny. Norris drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single, Altuve knocked in two more with a double and another scored on an infield hit by Martinez. ''I made bad pitches. I made good pitches. Balls got hit,'' Gorzelanny said. ''Anytime you give up six runs in a game, it's a little difficult to swallow.'' NOTES: Johnson said he removed right fielder Jayson Werth after six innings because of concerns about a hip injury. Werth declined comment after the game. ... The Nationals failed in their attempt at the first four-game home sweep since the team came to Washington. ... Houston OF Travis Buck was out with a strained left hamstring. ... Washington SS Ian Desmond did not start for the first time this season. ... The Astros open a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. LHP J.A. Happ (1-0, 3.75 ERA) will pitch for Houston against LHP Ted Lilly (1-0, 0.00). ... The Nationals host the Miami Marlins on Friday in the first of a three-game series. LHP Ross Detwiler (1-0, 0.90) will pitch against RHP Carlos Zambrano (0-0, 3.75).
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