HOUSTON (AP) - Jordan Zimmermann couldn't keep his string of good outings going.
Zimmermann, who won four of five decisions since June 1 and had gone at least six innings in 13 straight starts for the Washington Nationals, allowed a season-high six runs and seven hits in five innings Tuesday night in his shortest outing of the season.
Clint Barmes homered and drove in three runs, and Michael Bourn added three RBIs to help J.A. Happ break a seven-game losing streak in the Houston Astros' 7-6 win over the Nationals.
Zimmermann (6-8) took a grounder from Angel Sanchez off his left leg in the first inning, but appeared to be OK after he was checked out by trainers and threw a couple of warmup pitches.
He didn't blame that on his struggles.
``I just didn't have a good feel for much of anything,' he said. ``My slider was pretty terrible, and I had a rough time locating the fastball. When you have nights like that, you are going to get hit around. It's a shame the offense puts up six runs, and I feel like I didn't do my part.'
Barmes hit his two-run shot in the second inning and added a run on a single in the fourth. Bourn pushed Houston's lead to 6-2 in the fourth with a two-run double. His run-scoring single in the sixth made it 7-5 after Washington scored three in the sixth.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he was most bothered by Zimmermann leaving a slider over the plate to Barmes in the fourth with runners on second and third. Zimmermann was ahead 1-2 in the count.
``I think he battled,' Johnson said. ``He didn't have his best stuff. When you have two strikes on a hitter, you can't give him a cookie. You definitely don't want to give a really good hitter a pitch to hit.'
Happ (4-11) yielded seven hits and five runs with four walks in 5 2-3 innings to break the career-long skid and win for the first time since May 14.
Michael Morse and Jerry Hairston Jr. both homered and had three hits and two RBIs for the Nationals.
Houston closer Mark Melancon hit Morse with a pitch with two outs in the ninth before walking Jayson Werth, but struck out Wilson Ramos to get his eighth save.
Morse hit a ground-rule double to start the seventh inning before advancing to third on a single by Werth. Morse scored when Ramos grounded into a double play to get Washington within 7-6.
Humberto Quintero singled with two outs in the sixth inning off Todd Coffey before pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic walked. Bourn followed with a single that sailed just out of reach of a leaping Ryan Zimmerman and into left field to leave Houston ahead 7-5.
``It's always frustrating when you get two quick outs,' Coffey said. ``I have to focus right there to get the third out, and I didn't get it done.'
Hairston's homer came with one out in the sixth and cut Houston's lead to 6-4. It was his first game after being activated from the disabled list on Monday. He had been out because of a broken bone in his right wrist.
``It feels pretty good,' he said. ``It's one of those things that I don't want to land on it or hit the wall. Swinging the bat, it's not that bad.'
Happ walked pinch-hitter Alex Cora after Hairston's homer before he was replaced by Fernando Rodriguez with two outs. A wild pitch by Rodriguez sent Cora to second before he scored on a single by Ian Desmond to get the Nationals within 6-5. Rodriguez struck out Zimmerman to end the inning.
Zimmerman walked in the third inning before Morse extended his career high with his 17th homer of the season and second in two days, to tie it 2-2.
``That was a tough game,' Johnson said. ``I liked our offense. I didn't like our pitching so much.'
NOTES: The Nationals reinstated RHP Chad Gaudin from the disabled list and designated him for assignment. Gaudin missed 75 games after being placed on the DL in April with right shoulder inflammation. He went 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in 10 appearances for Washington this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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