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Nationals Fall To Astros 8-2 In Front Of Record-Settling Sparse Crowd

Washington, DC (Sports Network) – Geoff Blum hit a three-run homer and Humberto Quintero clubbed a two-run shot, all during a seven-run fifth inning, as the Houston Astros handled the Washington Nationals, 8-2, in the opener of a four-game set.

Jeff Keppinger and Carlos Lee each had a pair of hits and run scored for Houston, which has won six of its last eight.

Bud Norris (9-8) worked 6 2/3 innings, yielding two runs on six hits in picking up his third straight win. The young righty struck out six and walked four and has now won seven of his last eight decisions. He was making his first career start against Washington. Norris also had an RBI sacrifice bunt and scored a run.

Adam Dunn provided the only offense with a two-run double for the Nationals, who have dropped four straight and 10 of 12.

Livan Hernandez (10-12) was roughed up for eight runs — four earned — on eight hits over five innings. The veteran right-hander struck out five without walking a batter.

Dunn’s two-run double down the right-field line in the first gave the Nationals an early lead.

Norris helped his own cause by chasing in a run in the third. With runners on the corners and no outs, the pitcher laid down a perfect bunt to score Brian Bogusevic that cut the Astros’ deficit to 2-1.

Houston then put up seven in the fifth, sending 10 batters to the plate. Bogusevic’s single, combined with Dunn’s throwing error, tied things. Quintero followed with a homer to left. Norris reached on a two-base error by left fielder Willie Harris and came home on Keppinger’s base hit coupled with a fielding error on Roger Bernadina in center. Lee reached on a base hit two batters later, leaving runners on first and second, and Blum cleared the bases with a three-run shot to right for an 8-2 game.

In the seventh, Norris proceeded to load the bases with two singles and a walk with two outs before giving way to Tim Byrdak, who entered and struck out Dunn on three pitches. Washington went quietly in the eighth and ninth.

Earlier on Monday, the Astros announced their Triple-A franchise will move from Round Rock to Oklahoma City next season…Houston outfielder Michael Bourn missed the game with a right oblique strain and is considered day-to- day…The Astros have won seven of the last nine meetings between the clubs.