Astros catcher Carlos Corporan went 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Jason Bourgeois finished with a game-high three hits, as Houston tied a season-best 16 hits Saturday night en route to a commanding 9-3 victory over the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
Houston improved to 2-3 on their current six-game road trip.
The Astros exploded for six consecutive hits as part of a six-run, seven-hit third, which tied the team’s single-inning highs on the season.
Bourgeois cracked an RBI single to make it 1-0, with Carlos Lee and Chris Johnson each adding onto the damage with run-scoring singles.
Lee’s 80th RBI gives him 80-plus RBI in each of his 13 major league seasons to move ahead of standouts Jim Thome and Chipper Jones for second on the active list behind Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez for most seasons with at least 80 RBI.
Shortstop Angel Sanchez connected for a single to load the bases, thus setting the stage for Jose Altuve’s dribble toward third, which Nationals starter John Lannan fielded and threw wide of catcher Jesus Flores that enabled Lee and Johnson to score.
Corporan laid down a squeeze bunt that pushed past Lannan for a run-scoring single to give starter Wandy Rodriguez a 6-0 lead.
Washington manager Davey Johnson elected to pull Lannan after 2 1/3 innings in favor of right-handed reliever Yunesky Maya.
Lannan (9-12) allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits with one walk and one strikeout over 55 pitches to earn the loss.
The Nats stirred up trouble in the bottom of the fourth when third baseman Ryan Zimmerman led off with an infield single, followed by first baseman Michael Morse’s single to right field, giving Washington runners at first and second with no outs against Rodriguez.
After Zimmerman and Morse advance to third and second on a wild pitch, Rodriguez got back on track by striking out Jonny Gomes and Danny Espinosa before Chris Marrero belted a two-run single.
Houston retaliated with two runs in the fifth, thanks in part to Corporan’s sacrifice fly and Rodriguez helping himself with the bat with an RBI double, which pushed Altuve across the plate, making it 8-2.
Morse blasted a one-out solo homer to right — his 27th home run of the season — in the sixth off Rodriguez to cut the lead to 8-3.
Rodriguez (11-10) gave up three earned runs on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over six innings to earn the victory.
Right-handers Aneury Rodriguez, Juan Abreu and David Carpenter combined for three shutout innings to maintain the lead.
Corporan drove in his final run of the night with a ninth-inning single to right, which enabled Johnson to score for the second time.
The Astros went 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
Houston will attempt to win the series Sunday when rookie right-hander Henry Sosa (2-3, 4.11 ERA) gets the starting nod against young phenom Stephen Strasburg (0-0, 0.00 ERA).
Strasburg, the top overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2010 and returned to Washington’s starting rotation last Tuesday by tossing five shutout innings while striking out four in a no-decision effort in the Nats’ 7-3 loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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