Astros right-hander Felipe Paulino was on the mound when Washington struck for the back-to-back-to-back homers in the sixth inning. With one out, Nick Johnson knocked a 2-2 pitch over the right-field wall for his sixth homer of the season, making it a 7-2 game in favor of the Nationals.
Josh Willingham followed with his 11th home run of the season on the first pitch he saw. Adam Dunn was the next hitter and clubbed a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall, his 23rd long ball, to make it a 9-2 game.
"When I see my video for tonight's game, I see good pitching, but they hit it," Paulino said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. I just tried to do my best."
Dunn thought the Nats took advantage of what was offered.
"We actually got pitches to hit and we didn't miss them," said Dunn. "We had good swings all day. They just happened to go out."
It was the first time in Nationals history that players homered in three consecutive plate appearances. The last time it happened in franchise history was on Aug. 23, 1997, when Andy Stankiewicz, Mark Grudzielanek and Mike Lansing did so in the ninth inning in an Expos-Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
"It was good to get all the runs and have an easy one for a change," manager Manny Acta said. "The fact that those guys put together those good at-bats is great."
Willingham didn't know he entered the Nationals' record book until a reporter told him after the game.
"Anytime you are a part of history is cool," Willingham said. "I didn't know it at the time, but when Adam was up there, I had a feeling [a home run] might happen."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.