Elsewhere in the East: Lombardozzi lifts Nats, Phils jump on Lincecum

Washington 6, Houston 3

Update: I almost forgot about the best play from this game, which was Rick Ankiel’s throw to home plate on a bases loaded fly ball by Carlos Lee. Even though Jordan Schafer had plenty of speed on third base, he didn’t dare try to make it home on the fly ball to Ankiel. Turned out to be a good decision, as Ankiel threw a strike and Chris Johnson was able to later hit a single to plate Schafer anyway.

Original post: Washington manager Davey Johhnson started reserve infielder Steve Lombardozzi at second base last night just to give his regular keystoner Danny Espinosa a breather. It seems like this happens way too often, but Lombardozzi turned out to be the hero for the Nationals in their 6-3 win over the Houston Astros.

Lombardozzi went 4 for 5 at the plate, including a bloop two-out double down the left field line that drove in two Nationals runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. That made the score 4-2, giving Washington the lead for good.

Stephen Strasburg was very effective in this one, especially before he allowed Houston to load the bases in the top of the sixth and eventually score two runs. Apparently, something is going wrong for him when his opponents get on base.

“When guys would get in scoring position I felt like they definitely were kind of seeing pitches a little differently,” Strasburg said. “I don’t think I was throwing any pitches worse or with different kind of movement, but they definitely seemed a little bit more comfortable with guys on second base. . . . I know what it is and I know how to fix it, so that’s the bottom line.”

He make it sound like he was lousy, but Strasburg was pretty good with five strikeouts, one walk and two earned runs in six innings. 61 of his 93 pitches went for strikes.

For Houston, starter Kyle Weiland got knocked around with 10 hits and four walks allowed in 5.2 innings. He was removed after Ryan Zimmerman made the score 6-2 with a two-RBI single right after Lombardozzi’s big hit.

Houston third baseman Chris Johnson went 3 for 4 with a triple and knocked in all three of his team’s runs.

Philadelphia 5, San Francisco 2

The Phillies got a lot of the excitement out of the way early with four first inning runs scored on Tim Lincecum. With Roy Halladay on the mound for Philly, you had to figure that they wouldn’t need much more than that. It turns out that they didn’t and the Phillies won 5-2 on the road in San Francisco.

Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino had RBI singles in the first, and Lance Nix followed with a two-RBI double. Halladay went eight innings deep with six strikeouts, three walks and two runs allowed, while Jonathan Papelbon closed the game for the Phils.

Lincecum did a good job keeping the game within reach. He lasted six innings with six strikeouts, one walk and just one run allowed after the first inning. The Giants battled against Halladay, and the game would have been closer had it not been for an incredible leaping grab by Pence in the bottom of the fourth that stole an RBI double from former Met Angel Pagan.

Washington and Philadelphia both continue series against the same opponents tonight.

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