After leadoff homer, it's downhill for Nats

Pettitte rebounds and Everett fuels offense with 3 RBIs, as Houston takes two of first three from Washington

Astros 7 Nationals 3

Baseball

April 10, 2006

HOUSTON -- Andy Pettitte allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings and Adam Everett had three RBIs to lead the Houston Astros to a 7-3 win over the Washington Nationals yesterday.

Pettitte (1-1) rebounded from his 10-run, 13-hit first start to allow seven hits and strike out four and help Houston win two of the first three games in the series. He also had an RBI single and scored once.

"We got the win; that's all that matters," Pettitte said. "It was a struggle again, that's for sure. My command wasn't great; my location wasn't good at all."

Pettitte gave up a home run to leadoff batter Marlon Byrd in the first and a two-run shot to Alfonso Soriano in the sixth. Pettitte has given up five home runs this season after only allowing 17 in 2005.

Brad Lidge struck out three in a scoreless ninth, pitching around a double by pinch hitter Daryle Ward and a one-out single to Royce Clayton.

"We had a lot of chances. We just didn't cash in," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "We couldn't get the hits we needed, and we gave away too many runs. We're not making them earn them."

Everett had an RBI grounder off starter Ryan Drese (0-1) in the fourth to make it 4-1 and added a two-run single off Joey Eischen in the fifth.

Pettitte got his eighth career RBI when he singled on a full count to score Everett in the third. Everett had reached on an error when shortstop Clayton overthrew first base.

Morgan Ensberg hit a double to left field that scored Pettitte and Willy Taveras after reluctant outfielder Soriano had to run back to get the ball after failing to scoop it up the first time.

Drese lasted four innings, allowing five hits and one earned run with three strikeouts in his first action since shoulder surgery in September. He missed the last 42 games of 2005 with the injury and didn't pitch in a game in spring training but threw 81 pitches yesterday.

Drese said he was surprised at how good he felt after sitting out for so long.

"I think I threw the ball pretty well," Drese said. "My velocity was good, and I was throwing the ball downhill."

Soriano, who also had a double, hit his second two-run homer in two days in the sixth.

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