Nationals Vs. Astros: Nationals Can't Seal Deal And Lose In Extra Innings To Astros

Right fielder Jayson Werth goes 3-for-5 with a two-run homerun and two doubles, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Houston Astros who scored the winning run in the 11th inning.

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Nationals Vs. Astros Final: Nationals Suffer Extra Painful Loss In Extras To Astros 3-2

When one thinks about the 2011 Washington Nationals it is best to think of them still a work in progress, that at very best they are just a .500 team. They claim to desire more than just an even record, but they certainly didn't play like it on Wednesday afternoon at Minute Maid Park where they lost to the team with the worst record in the Majors, the Houston Astros, 3-2 in extra innings.

In the 11th inning Jason Michaels hit a RBI single off reliever Todd Coffey to give Houston the game and the series. It was the first series victory for the Astros since June 17th-19th. The game did not end in Washington's favor nor did it start out that way either. The Astros were quick to get on the board in the first and second inning by scoring a run off Nationals starter Livan Hernandez. In traditional, but irritating Hernandez fashion he gave up his runs early in the game putting his team in a hole to climb out of, but settled down to finally pitch six innings of seven hit, two run ball while walking one and striking out three.

The Nationals offense could do little against Brett Myers and the Houston bullpen, but the one player that did show up to play to the surprise of everyone was right fielder Jayson Werth. Mired in a slump,  the struggling $126 million dollar man might have finally broken out of it going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a two-run homerun. It was a shame to see Washington make up for Hernandez's early mistakes and waste Werth's most impressive offensive performance in over a month's time.

The Nationals fall to 48-50 with the loss.

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Nationals Vs. Astros Score: Houston Leads, 2-0, After Early Runs

The Washington Nationals are not off to a good start in their quest to take a series against the worst team in baseball. The Houston Astros scored in the first and second innings and hold a 2-0 lead after five innings. The two teams have split the previous two games of the series.

The Astros got on the board quickly in the bottom of the first inning. Hunter Pence tripled to left field with two outs, and Carlos Lee drove him home with a single up the middle. The Astros added another run in the bottom of the second inning when Humberto Quintero hit a one-out double to score Clint Barmes from first base.

Livan Hernandez has been OK otherwise, giving up six hits in five innings. The Nationals, meanwhile, have managed five hits against Astros starter Brett Myers, but haven't been able to capitalize on any. One of those hits was a double by Jayson Werth, his first extra-base hit since June 28.

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Nationals Vs. Astros: Washington Looks For Series Win In Afternoon Game

The Washington Nationals will play the Houston Astros on Wednesday at 2:05 p.m. EST in the rubber match of their three-game series at Houston's Minute Maid Park. 

A win would give the Nationals (48-49) a series win and put them back at .500, a mark they've been flirting with for the better part of the season. They will send veteran right-handed starter Livan Hernandez to the mound. He is 5-9 on the season with a 4.09 ERA. 

The Astros (32-65) will start right-hander Brett Myers, who has struggled this year to a 3-10 record and a 4.86 ERA. 

Here's the Nats' lineup:

1. Roger Bernadina, LF

2. Danny Espinosa, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Michael Morse, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Rick Ankiel, CF

7. Jesus Flores, C

8. Alex Cora, SS

9. Livan Hernandez, P

The Nationals enter action Wednesday with a 2-3 record since the All-Star break

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