Series: Game 3 of 4

Houston leads 2-1 (as of 4/9)

Game 1: Friday, April 7
Game 2: Saturday, April 8
Game 3: Sunday, April 9
Game 4: Monday, April 10
in 12

Nationals 3

(2-4, 2-4 away)

Astros 7

(4-2, 4-2 home)

    2:05 PM ET, April 9, 2006

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    WAS 100002000 3 10 2
    HOU 00312001 - 7 10 1

    W: A. Pettitte (1-1)

    L: R. Drese (0-1)

    Pettitte solid as Astros take 2 of 3 from Nats

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Despite getting his first win of the season, Andy Pettitte still doesn't feel like himself.

    Pettitte allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings and Adam Everett had three RBI to lead the Houston Astros to a 7-3 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

    Pettitte (1-1) rebounded from his 10-run, 13-hit first start to allow seven hits and strike out four and help Houston win two of the first three games in the series. He also had an RBI-single and scored a run.

    "We got the win, that's all that matters," Pettitte said. "It was a struggle again, that's for sure. My command wasn't great, my location wasn't good at all."

    Pettitte gave up a home run to leadoff batter Marlon Byrd in the first and a two-run shot to Alfonso Soriano in the sixth. Pettitte has allowed five home runs this season after only allowing 17 in 2005.

    He said after Byrd's home run, thoughts of his first start, when he gave up seven earned runs, began creeping in his mind.

    "I'm just out of whack," he said. "I don't know if, just now, with the adrenaline of the game or whatever and just being a little bit behind, I don't feel like my arm is catching up with the rest of my body.

    "I really don't know what it is, but I'm definitely out of sync. My stuff's just not doing what it's supposed to."

    Astros manager Phil Garner said he was encouraged by Pettitte's velocity, but that he knows he isn't throwing the way he'd like.

    "He just didn't locate like we're accustomed to seeing him locate," Garner said. "But I think that will be forthcoming. It was good for Andy to bounce back after his last outing."

    Brad Lidge struck out three in a scoreless ninth, pitching around a double by pinch-hitter Daryle Ward and a one-out single to Royce Clayton.

    Everett had an RBI grounder off starter Ryan Drese (0-1) in the fourth to make 4-1, and added a two-run single off Joey Eischen in the fifth.

    Pettitte got his eighth career RBI when he singled on a full count to score Everett in the third. Everett had reached on an error when shortstop Clayton overthrew first base.

    Morgan Ensberg hit a double to left field that scored Pettitte and Willy Taveras after reluctant outfielder Soriano had to run back to get the ball after failing to scoop it up the first time.

    "We had a lot of chances, we just didn't cash in," said Nationals manager Frank Robinson. "We couldn't get the hits we needed and we gave away too many runs. We're not making them earn them."

    Chris Burke added a solo home run for Houston in the eighth.

    Drese lasted just four innings, allowing five hits and one earned run with three strikeouts in his first action since shoulder surgery in September. He missed the last 42 games of 2005 with the injury and didn't pitch in a game in spring training but threw 81 pitches Sunday.

    Drese said he was surprised at how good he felt after sitting out for so long.

    "I think I threw the ball pretty well," he said. "My velocity was good and I was throwing the ball downhill."

    Soriano, who also had a double, hit his second two-run homer in two days in the sixth. He also had one in Saturday's 12-8 comeback win over Houston.

    Along with his offensive work, Everett made perhaps the most dazzling defensive play of the day when he jumped up and extended his glove to make an acrobatic catch on a line drive by Ryan Zimmerman for Washington's third out in the fourth.

    "Whenever you've got your pitcher out there throwing strikes, you've got to come up with some big plays sometimes to help the pitchers out," Everett said.

    Game notes

    Houston has scored six or more runs in its last four game. ... Astros RHP Dan Wheeler has pitched three scoreless innings this year. ... Jose Vidro has a hit in all six Nationals games this season. ... With his homer on Sunday, Byrd is already halfway to his 2005 home run total of two. ... Pettitte's third-inning run marked just the second time he scored in his career. ... Lance Berkman and Preston Wilson's streaks of three straight games with home runs was broken on Sunday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press