Jackson’s shaky start dooms Nationals in 11-4 loss

Edwin Jackson’s home debut for the Washington Nationals was

about as good as it gets. His follow-up started nearly as bad as

possible.

The right-hander gave up five runs on six hits – three of them

triples – to the Houston Astros in the opening inning. Reliever Tom

Gorzelanny gave up another five runs in the sixth and the Astros

cruised to a 11-4 win Thursday night.

It was the first-inning barrage that really hurt Washington,

boosting the Astros’ confidence after Washington won the first

three games of the series.

”I wasn’t erratic. I was around the strike zone,” Jackson

said. ”I was in a position to put people away, and I didn’t.”

In his previous start Saturday, Jackson (1-1) threw a complete

game two-hitter against the Reds. He showed some of that form

again, allowing one hit in four innings after his rocky first and

retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced. He struck out five

and didn’t walk a batter.

”He was unhittable the rest of the way,” Washington manager

Davey Johnson 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.

Jose Altuve started the big first inning with a one-out triple

and scored on a single by J.D. Martinez. Carlos Lee singled and

Brian Bogusevic hit a two-run triple. Matt Downs followed with the

third triple of the inning and Jason Castro added an RBI

single.

The three triples in an inning were a franchise record, and the

13th time the Astros had three triples in a game. Houston, which

had lost four straight, also set a season high for runs and hits

(17).

Bud Norris (1-0) pitched six innings for the win and drove in a

pair of runs. Bogusevic and Castro each had three hits for

Houston.

Washington managed a run off Norris 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.

”It just wasn’t our night. They kept tacking on runs,”

Zimmerman said. ”The starters aren’t going to have a 1-something

(ERA) all year. They’re still very good, and I can’t wait for Edwin

to pitch 30 more times. It happens.”

In the sixth, the Astros scored five times off 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.

”I made bad pitches. I made good pitches. Balls got hit,”

Gorzelanny said. ”Anytime you give up six runs in a game, it’s a

little difficult to swallow.”

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).