WASHINGTON (AP) - In their 51-year history, the Houston Astros had never hit three triples in an inning. By the time six batters had come to the plate Thursday night, they had.
The Astros, who had scored just five runs in losing the first three games of the series to Washington, banged out a season-high 17 hits and beat the Nationals 11-4.
Jose Altuve had a one-out triple in the first and, after two singles, Brian Bogusevic and Matt Downs hit back-to-back triples.
The three triples tied a club record for one game, but Houston settled for 12 singles and doubles the rest of the way.
``We were actually talking about that in the dugout - we didn't know if it was some kind of record,' Bogusevic said. ``Everybody said they hadn't seen it.'
The triples keyed a five-run first inning off Edwin Jackson (1-1), who followed up a 92-pitch two-hitter with a rough start. But after the first, he settled in and allowed only one more hit.
``At that point, the damage is done,' Jackson said.
The beneficiary of Houston's offensive outburst was Bud Norris, who pitched six innings for the win and helped himself with a two-run single. Bogusevic and Jason Castro each had three hits.
``This team's definitely making strides in the right direction. We see it, and we're excited by it. It felt good to win in an away series,' Norris 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.
Houston, which had lost four straight, also set a season high for runs. It was the 13th time the Astros had three triples in a game.
``It'd be kind of nice to spread it out a bit more, rather than all in one game, but we know it's there,' Houston manager Brad Mills said.
The Astros scored five in the first. Altuve tripled with one out and scored on a single by J.D. Martinez. Carlos Lee singled and Bogusevic hit a two-run triple. Downs followed with the third triple of the inning and Castro added an RBI single.
Washington got a run off Norris (1-0) 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.
Jackson pitched four innings after his rocky first and allowed just one more base hit. In five innings, he gave up five runs and seven hits while striking out five.
``The starters aren't going to have a 1-something (ERA) all year,' Zimmerman said. ``They're still very good, and I can't wait for Edwin to pitch 30 more times. It happens. Guys aren't going to go seven, eight innings every time.'
In the sixth, the Astros scored five times off Tom 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.
Houston added its final run in the seventh on an RBI single by Castro.
``This was a case where Gorzo's got to hold them. The bullpen's been pretty taxed, pretty much all year,' Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
``It wasn't the case where I was going to throw the kitchen sink at them to win that ballgame. I wanted to go into a division series with Miami not with a burdened pen. Gorzo kind of had to take it on the chin.'
Norris allowed four runs and 10 hits. He struck out six and walked two.
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).
The Associated Press News Service
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