Astros put away Nats in 11th, win 2 straight for 1st time in over a month

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros aren't going to make too much out of winning two straight games for the first time in more than a month.

But for this last place team, it sure feels good to end a series on a high note.

Pinch-hitter Jason Michaels hit an RBI single in the 11th inning to lift the Astros to a 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday and give Houston consecutive victories and a series win for the first time since taking two of three from the Dodgers in June.

"It's good to see these guys rewarded for some good play," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "To have these back-to-back wins and win a series is big."

Humberto Quintero singled to right field before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. He took third on a single by Michael Bourn to set up Michaels' game-winner to center off Todd Coffey (3-1).

Neither team got a hit in a scoreless 10th inning before Jayson Werth doubled with one out in the 11th. Wilton Lopez (2-4) retired the next two Nationals to end the scoring threat.

Houston starter Brett Myers is hopeful that the series will help the Astros get something positive going in the second half of the season.

"We need some momentum going right now," he said. "Obviously we're not playing our best baseball, but that series right there we played pretty well. It was close games. We slugged with them yesterday and we pitched with them today and ultimately we were able to come out winning."

It was the 15th extra-inning game for the Nationals this season and dropped their record in those games to 9-6.

Houston rookie Jose Altuve picked up his first major league hit with a single to right field off Tyler Clippard with two outs in the ninth. Clippard walked Hunter Pence before retiring Carlos Lee to send it to the 10th.

"Tyler was Houdini," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He came in with two men on and nobody out and got out of it. He got into trouble the next inning and got out of it."

Werth had three hits and drove in Washington's only runs with a two-run homer that tied it 2-all in the sixth inning. It was his first homer since June 16.

"It's kind of like all year -- we aren't matching up," he said. "If we pitch, we don't hit. You hope that we will match up. That's how you win games ... the pitching has been good all year, and we've been picking up the hitting. We are going to have to pitch, and we are going to have to hit if we are going to play in the postseason."

Henry Rodriguez walked Pence and Lee with no outs in the eighth inning and was replaced by Clippard. Brett Wallace put down a sacrifice bunt and Clippard intentionally walked Chris Johnson to load the bases. Clippard got out of the jam when Clint Barmes popped out and Quintero struck out.

Myers yielded eight hits and two runs in seven innings but did not factor into the decision, remaining winless since June 17.

"I didn't feel like I had my best stuff, but I was able to make pitches when I needed to," he said.

Livan Hernandez, who started for the Nationals, allowed seven hits and two runs with three strikeouts in six innings. He has allowed seven or more hits in five of his last six starts.

"He made quality pitches. He kept us in the ball game," Johnson said. "I hate that we couldn't win it for him, but unfortunately, we couldn't punch one across."

Hernandez retired six of the last seven he faced and was replaced by Rodriguez, who threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Michael Morse singled in the sixth inning and Werth followed with his tying homer. The home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field was the 24th Myers has allowed this season -- second-most in the majors. Rick Ankiel singled after the homer, but Myers retired the next two Nationals to end the inning.

Quintero pushed Houston's lead to 2-0 on an RBI double in the second inning.

Pence tripled in the first inning on a ball that bounced off the wall in left field and scored on a single by Lee to give Houston a 1-0 lead.

Altuve started at second base on Wednesday in his major league debut. He was called up from Double-A Corpus Christi on Tuesday after the team traded second baseman Jeff Keppinger to the San Francisco Giants.

"I was a little nervous in the beginning of the game," Altuve said. "And then just went out to play and it was pretty good."

Game notes
The Astros optioned LHP Wesley Wright to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for INF Matt Downs, who was moved from the paternity leave list to the active roster after the game. ... Nationals LHP Tom Gorzelanny threw on Wednesday for the first time since twisting his right ankle Sunday in a home-plate collision. Johnson said he still isn't sure if he'll make his scheduled start on Saturday. The Nationals could skip him without adding a pitcher to the rotation because of Thursday's scheduled off day. ... Houston OF Jason Bourgeois (right quadriceps strain) went 2 for 5 with an RBI in a rehabilitation assignment for Oklahoma City on Tuesday and is scheduled to play again Wednesday. ... Johnson doesn't expect C Ivan Rodriguez (strained right oblique) to come off the disabled list when he is eligible on Friday, but he will likely come off soon after that.