WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman scored the winning run on a throwing error in the bottom of the 11th inning, as the Nationals edged the Astros, 4-3, at Nationals Park on Friday night.
Zimmerman and Michael Morse started the 11th inning by drawing walks to put runners on first and second. Jayson Werth then swung at a 2-1 pitch from right-hander Wilton Lopez and hit a hard shot to third baseman Jimmy Paredes, who dove for the ball and tried for a force at second, but threw the ball away for an error, allowing Zimmerman to scamper home from second.
Werth was credited with a hit on the play.
"Initially, I hit it and I knew there was a potential double play, so I was running hard out of the box," Werth said. "I looked to see what happened at second when I didn't see the ball. I thought it was going to be there. I kept looking, and I saw it go in the outfield. That was that."
It was Washington's 66th victory of the season.
Left-hander Tommy Milone made the second start of his career, lasting 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on eight hits. It was a much better outing than his Major League debut, in which he allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings.
"Overall, I think it was little bit better. I went out there and I was able to throw strikes. I kept the ball down, which was good," Milone said. "I think I need to work on getting through the second time through the lineup, third time through the lineup. That's one thing I need to work on."
For example, once he has two strikes on a hitter, Milone said he needs to put him away.
"The second time through, I can't put them away, it seems. I'm leaving the ball over the plate, so I need to do a better job of leaving the zone when I need to with two strikes," Milone said.
There is no denying that Milone has great control. He has yet to walk a hitter in 10 innings. That's not a surprise. He walked only 16 batters in 148 1/3 innings for Triple-A Syracuse this season.
"I've been seeing him for three years," first baseman Chris Marrero said. "He has been the same guy. He always gets outs and never walks anybody. He is awesome, man, I love playing behind him."
Milone was given a 2-0 lead in the opening inning, after Zimmerman hit a two-run homer off right-hander Bud Norris. However, Norris was able to hold the Nationals down until Houston took the lead against Milone in the sixth inning.
"I was a little tight early, definitely wasn't in my groove yet, and that's what you're trying to do is establish -- and Zimmerman made me pay," Norris said. "Once out of that first inning, I got a little better from there on out. The guys battled, and it's a tough loss, for sure."
The first two runs for Houston were scored via sacrifice flies. In the third inning, Norris helped himself by hitting a fly ball to center field to score Clint Barmes. An inning later, Jose Altuve trotted home after a fly ball hit by Chris Johnson.
Milone left the game after allowing an RBI single to Barmes in the sixth inning.
But the Nationals would tie the score at three in the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out, Norris tried to pick off Danny Espinosa at first base, but the ball hit Espinosa in the back and went past Carlos Lee for a two-base error. Espinosa would later score on a double by Marrero. It was Marrero's second RBI since being promoted to the big leagues on Aug. 27.
"Once Espi got to third base, I was just trying to put the ball in play and get him in," Marrero said. "I put a good swing and hit the double. Once Norris made the bad throw, Espi got all the way to third. I just wanted to get him in. We tied the game."
And won the game in extra innings.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.