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

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

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.