Monday, July 25, 2005

MLB: Houston Astros 4, Nationals 1 (14 innings, July 24)

WP: Russ Springer (3-3)
LP: Hector Carrasco (3-3)
S: Brad Lidge (23)

WAS: 55-44 (1st in NL East, tied with Atlanta, 3 ahead of Philadelphia)

The Nationals continued their struggles on Sunday, dropping the rubber game of a three game set with the Astros and losing for the 12th time in 16 games.

The team remains tied with Atlanta for first place in the National League East because the Braves lost to Arizona yesterday, 3-2.

Sunday's marathon game beetween the Nationals and Astros was a pitchers duel between John Patterson and Wandy Rodriguez, with neither of them ending up with a victory to show for it.

Patterson threw eight innings, giving up one run on six hits and striking out 10 Astros, while Rodriguez countered with seven innings of three-hit ball, also giving up one run.

The run for the Nats came in the fifth on a Gary Bennett RBI single that gave Washington a 1-0 lead, but in the very next half-inning, the Astros got a Mike Lamb sacrifice fly to make it 1-1. It would stay that way until the 14th inning.

After a single and a walk given up by Hector Carrasco in the top of the 14th, Eric Bruntlett sent a ball over the left field fence to make it 4-1 Astros.

Closer Brad Lidge worked a scoreless 14th for Houston to get the save.

The Nationals and Braves both have the day off today before starting a crucial three game series in Atlanta that will break up this first place tie in the NL East.

Livan Hernandez (12-4, 3.44 ERA, throws right), who was so frustrated after his last start that he contemplated leaving the team to have surgery on his knee, has calmed down and will pitch against John Smoltz (11-5, 2.64 ERA, throws right) on Tuesday night at 7:35.

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