Belliard belts 2 homers as host Nationals paste Astros

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Tim Redding was the beneficiary of the Nationals' biggest shutout win since the franchise moved to Washington before the 2005 season.

He definitely deserved all the support.

Redding finally got a victory after nine consecutive no-decisions, Ronnie Belliard homered twice and drove in five runs and the Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros 10-0 Friday night.

"We needed a game like this," manager Manny Acta said. "We have so many good, supportive, patient fans I think they deserve a few nights like this one."

Redding (7-3) allowed seven singles, walked none and struck out six in six innings. The Astros had hits in the first five innings, but Redding consistently wiggled out of trouble to record his first victory since May 19 and avoid running his no-decision streak to double digits.

"It [stinks]. I wanted to go into the record book. I told my wife, some way, somehow in my career I'm going in the record book," Redding deadpanned. "Obviously, it feels good to get a win. The guys have been playing tough."

Redding fell one short of tying the major league record for consecutive no-decisions by a starting pitcher in a single season, set by San Diego's John D'Acquisto and Philadelphia's Randy Lerch in 1977, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

A crowd of 33,653 saw the Nationals score their most runs in a shutout since a 10-0 victory by the Montreal Expos over the New York Mets on April 11, 2003.

Austin Kearns homered and Steven Shell worked three innings for his first career save as Washington earned its seventh shutout of the season, and second in three days. The Nationals had lost seven of eight.

"It's a sign that we are better than we've shown so far," Acta said.

The Astros have been blanked three times this season and have lost eight of 10 overall.

Houston starter Roy Oswalt left with a strained left hip after throwing 17 pitches during a scoreless first inning. The right-hander, who was making his first start since June 30 and had been bothered by pain in his hip, was removed in the second inning for a pinch hitter.

Houston manager Cecil Cooper said Oswalt talked his way into the game despite feeling some twinges during pregame warmups. Oswalt will be re-examined by team doctors and his next start is up in the air.

"He wanted to go out there, and we were kind of against it. He won out," Cooper said. "He wanted to go. As you can see, he got through the first inning, but he wasn't Roy. He kind of held back and it looked like his stride was a little shorter than normal. ... So we decided to not let him continue because we can't take a chance on him injuring it any further."

Asked to describe the effect of the injury, Oswalt said: "It's stimulating from my back. I think it's from my hip hurting and my back trying to take over, take a little bit of a load off my hip."

Nationals first baseman Dmitri Young left in the third with tightness in his lower back. Acta said Young is day to day.

Washington took a 2-0 lead in the second. Jesus Flores singled with one out and Belliard hit a 1-0 pitch from Chad Paronto (0-1) into the left-field stands for his eighth homer.

Belliard hit a three-run drive for career homer No. 100 in Washington's five-run fifth. Flores also had a two-run single in the inning.

"A lot of people have 700 and 500, but for me [100] feels good," Belliard said.

It was Belliard's second multihomer game of the season, and he leads the team with nine homers and 30 RBIs.

"I say unexpected because he's leading our team in home runs," Acta said. "Raise your hand if, in spring training, any of you guys would have guessed that one."

Kearns hit a two-run shot in the sixth to make it 10-0.

Game notes
Belliard also hit two homers June 10 at Pittsburgh. ... Before the game, the Nationals optioned OF Roger Bernadina to Triple-A Columbus and selected the contract of OF Ryan Langerhans from their top farm club. ... Astros OF Carlos Lee's first-inning single was the 1,600th hit of his career. ... Kearns has eight RBIs in eight games since returning from the disabled list. ... Hall of Fame Houston broadcaster Milo Hamilton worked a game in his 57th major league stadium. He's the only broadcaster to call a game in each of the major league ballparks in Washington, D.C. -- Griffith Stadium, RFK Stadium and Nationals Park.