HOUSTON (AP) - No matter how well Houston rookie Jordan Lyles pitches, he just can't get a win.
Lyles allowed five hits and four runs with six strikeouts in 8 1-3 innings, but Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman homered to give the Washington Nationals a 5-2 win Monday night.
Laynce Nix added two insurance runs with an RBI single after Zimmerman's tie-breaking hit in the ninth.
Lyles (0-5) left with nothing to show for the longest outing of his career and remains winless after his ninth career start. Despite another setback, Lyles said he is not getting frustrated.
``It happens, and I am not going to dwell on it,' Lyles said. ``We'll put it all together one game. It will come sooner or later. If I have more outings like I did tonight, it will come sooner or later.'
Lyles wasn't feeling sorry for himself, but he got some sympathy from Nationals manager Davey Johnson.
``I feel sorry for him losing that ballgame,' Johnson said. ``He pitched a great ballgame, pitched his heart out.'
The last Astros starter to start nine or more games without a win was Felipe Paulino, who started 10 games without a victory from April 10 to May 30 of last season.
Roger Bernadina singled to start the ninth inning before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Danny Espinosa. Zimmerman's grounder rolled just out of reach of a diving second baseman Jeff Keppinger and into the outfield to allow Bernadina to score and chase Lyles.
Astros Manager Brad Mills said he thought about taking Lyles out after eight innings.
``We had a big discussion, but what really swayed it was he was throwing so well, and he had such a solid eighth inning,' Mills said. ``He was so efficient throughout the game; he just never had any taxing innings.'
Morse homered in the fifth inning and Zimmerman's came in the seventh.
Washington starter Jason Marquis (8-4) yielded six hits and two runs with a season high-tying nine strikeouts to get his first win since June 10.
Michael Bourn singled to start Houston's side of the eighth, but Marquis retired the next three Astros to end the inning and his night.
Jason Michaels, who hit one of Houston's four doubles, said Marquis was effective because he stayed ahead in the count Monday.
``He got ahead and stayed ahead,' Michaels said. ``He did a good job, and we just could not take advantage of when we got some runners into scoring position.'
Closer Drew Storen allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth for his 25th save.
Lyles had retired seven straight before Zimmerman's homer that landed in the first row of the stands in right field with one out in the seventh inning and tied it 2-all. Morse followed with a single, but Lyles retired the next two Nationals to get out of the inning before pitching a perfect eighth.
Carlos Lee's two-out double down the left field line scored Angel Sanchez and gave the Astros a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning.
Lyles didn't allow a hit until Morse's homer to left field on the first pitch of the fifth inning. He walked Bernadina to start the fourth inning, but faced the minimum through four thanks to a double play in that frame.
The Astros evened it at 1-all when Michaels doubled and scored on a double down the right field line by Carlos Corporan in the fifth inning.
The first hit Marquis yielded was a single by Corporan with no outs in the third inning. He retired the next six Astros after that before the double by Michaels in the fifth inning.
``He worked efficiently, and he was running a sinker in on some guys,' Mills said about Marquis. ``That really seemed to be effective for him.'
Nationals infielder Jerry Hairston Jr., who had a broken bone in his right wrist, was activated from the disabled list on Monday, but did not play.
NOTES: Buddy Lamothe, the Astros' 40th-round pick in this year's draft who is paralyzed from the waist down, was on the field with the team for batting practice before Monday's game. The Astros had their eye on the reliever from San Jacinto College before he was injured in a diving accident in May. Lamothe, who is recovering at a facility in Houston, hopes to play again one day. ``Being out here just gives me a lot of hope to get back out here one day and pitch for the Astros,' he said while on the field with his family and college coaches. ``That'd be nice.'... C Ivan Rodriguez (strained right oblique) is feeling better, but Johnson still isn't sure when he'll come off the DL. ... The Nationals hope that starter Tom Gorzelanny will be able to make his next scheduled start after twisting his right ankle on Sunday in a home-plate collision. If he isn't, the Nationals could go with four pitchers in their rotation for a bit because of two upcoming off days. ... Houston OF Jason Bourgeois (right quadriceps strain) went 0 for 5 in a rehabilitation start at Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday. He will join Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. ... Houston INF Matt Downs, who is on the paternity leave list, and his wife Leah welcomed their first child, a boy named Matthew Jr. on Monday.
The Associated Press News Service
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