Coffey shaky again as Nats lose in 11

July 20, 2011

HOUSTON (AP) — For the second time in as many days, Nationals reliever Todd Coffey couldn’t shut down the Houston Astros.

Coffey allowed three hits in the 11th inning, including the game-winning RBI single to Jason Michaels, as the Astros beat Washington 3-2 on Wednesday.

He didn’t take the loss in Tuesday’s game, but was upset that he allowed a run in a 7-6 defeat.

“The bottom line is they got the hits that they needed to win the game, and I blew it for us,” Coffey said. “That’s two (games) in a row that I really let this team down. It falls on my shoulders, and trust me, nobody feels as bad as I do.”

Humberto Quintero singled to right field before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. He took third on a single by Michael Bourn to set up Michaels’ game-winner to center off Coffey (3-1) that gave the Astros consecutive wins for the first time in more than a month.

Coffey, who posted a 1.71 ERA in his first 20 appearances of the season, has now allowed 17 runs in 21 appearances since June 1 and watched his ERA rise to 4.03.

Washington’s bullpen had thrown four scoreless innings before Coffey entered in the 11th. Coffey said he didn’t feel the bullpen had been called on too much lately.

“That’s what we do,” he said. “We prepare ourselves to pitch every day and to be ready every day ... the bullpen was fresh, I was fresh. Tonight, it fell on me, and I didn’t get the job done. Everybody did an outstanding job, but I dropped the ball.”

Neither team got a hit in a scoreless 10th inning before Jayson Werth doubled with one out in the 11th. Wilton Lopez (2-4) retired the next two Nationals to end the scoring threat.

Werth had three hits and drove in Washington’s only runs with a two-run homer that tied it 2-all in the sixth inning.

“I just thought that I have seen really good signs for the last week, and he’s been feeling better,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Werth. “He’s been a lot more aggressive today. He hit a couple first pitch fastballs, which he hadn’t done. That tells me he’s starting to feel pretty good.”

Houston starter Brett Myers yielded eight hits and two runs in seven innings but did not factor into the decision, remaining winless since June 17.

Livan Hernandez, who started for the Nationals, allowed seven hits and two runs with three strikeouts in six innings.

Hernandez retired six of the last seven he faced before he was replaced by Rodriguez, who threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Michael Morse singled in the sixth inning and Werth followed with his tying homer. The home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field was the 24th Myers has allowed this season — second-most in the majors. Rick Ankiel singled after the homer, but Myers retired the next two Nationals to end the inning.

Quintero pushed Houston’s lead to 2-0 on an RBI double in the second inning.

Pence tripled in the first inning on a ball that bounced off the wall in left field and scored on a single by Lee to give Houston a 1-0 lead.

Washington has now lost four of six games since the All-Star break, three of them by one run.

“It’s kind of like all year we aren’t matching up,” Werth said. “If we pitch, we don’t hit. You hope that we will match up. That’s how you win games ... the pitching has been good all year, and we’ve been picking up the hitting. We are going to have to pitch, and we are going to have to hit if we are going to play in the postseason.”

NOTES: The Astros optioned LHP Wesley Wright to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for INF Matt Downs, who was moved from the paternity leave list to the active roster after the game. ... Nationals LHP Tom Gorzelanny threw on Wednesday for the first time since twisting his right ankle Sunday in a home-plate collision. Johnson said he still isn’t sure if he’ll make his scheduled start on Saturday. The Nationals could skip him without adding a pitcher to the rotation because of Thursday’s scheduled off day. ... Houston OF Jason Bourgeois (right quadriceps strain) went 2 for 5 with an RBI in a rehabilitation assignment for Oklahoma City on Tuesday and is scheduled to play again Wednesday. ... Johnson doesn’t expect C Ivan Rodriguez (strained right oblique) to come off the disabled list when he is eligible on Friday, but he will likely come off soon after that.

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