Rendon homers, Nationals rally past Astros 6-5

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The Washington Nationals are hitting again, and showing the resiliency that enabled them to put together numerous late-inning rallies earlier in the season.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Anthony Rendon homered to spark a three-run seventh inning, and pinch-hitter Nate McLouth came through with a tiebreaking sacrifice fly as the Nationals rallied past the Houston Astros 6-5 on Wednesday night for a two-game series sweep

“That’s kind of how we’ve done it all year, not necessarily lately, but we grind out at-bats,” Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said. “We got some big hits late and came from behind there after a big inning for them.”

It was the 17th come-from-behind victory for Washington, which extended its NL East lead to 1 1/2 games over Atlanta and Miami. The Nationals open a four-game series against the Braves on Thursday night in Washington.

Rendon led off the seventh against Josh Zeid with his 10th home run, cutting the deficit to 5-4. The Houston native is 9 for 18 against the Astros with seven RBI.

“He continues to swing a hot bat against us,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “We felt like Zeid was going to be able to get those first two guys and have (reliever Darin) Downs ready for (Adam) LaRoche.”

Werth was walked by Zeid and raced to third on LaRoche’s single off Downs (1-1).

“I knew the center fielder didn’t have a chance (to catch it). The whole thing’s right in front of me there, so it’s a pretty easy read,” Werth said.

Kyle Farnsworth came on to face Ryan Zimmerman, who grounded into a fielder’s choice, beating the relay to first as Werth scored to tie it.

Ian Desmond then doubled Zimmerman to third. After Danny Espinosa was intentionally walked, McLouth’s long fly to left field scored Zimmerman with the go-ahead run.

“We just create those opportunities and we’re not out of a game,” manager Matt Williams said. “We feel good about one swing of the bat (and) we can get back in it. And that’s what happened tonight.”

Aaron Barrett (3-0) got one out for the win and Rafael Soriano earned his 15th save.

Matt Dominguez drove in two runs for the Astros, who have lost three straight.

For the second straight night, neither starter made it past the fifth inning.

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