The Washington Nationals defeated the lowly Houston Astros with in Game 2 of their four-game set Tuesday night. It was a quick and tidy game featuring excellent pitching by both Gio Gonzalez and Wandy Rodriguez. The game was in the sixth inning just over an hour after first pitch, with both starters working quickly and moving through the opposing lineups. The game lasted only two hours and 12 minutes.
The Nationals would score in the bottom of the fourth, as an Andy LaRoche single to left brought home Jayson Werth for what would be the game's only run. Both Werth and LaRoche have been a nice combination in the middle of the order over the first two weeks of the season, and Werth's double started the first and only real threat Washington had all evening against Rodriguez.
Gonzalez was dynamite, throwing 91 pitches in seven innings. He allowed only two hits and struck out eight to get his first win of the season. He had pitched well in his prior two starts, but he took it up a notch against Houston. The eight strikeout performance had the crowd at Nats' park on their feet, even if it was against a less-than-stellar Astros' lineup.
Tyler Clippard came on in the 8th inning, and worked through a leadoff bunt single to retire the side. He ended the inning with an emphatic strikeout, blowing one by Justin Maxwell. In the 9th, Brad Lidge certainly made things interesting, giving up a leadoff double to Jed Lowrie who ripped one into the right field corner. Lidge was then extremely wild against J.D. Martinez, walking him to put the first two batters on. But he battled back, inducing a fly out and hard line out to center before retiring Travis Buck to complete the save. The Nationals will look to clinch the series tomorrow night, with Jordan Zimmermann looking for his first win of the season.
For more on this series check out the SBNation Nationals blog Federal Baseball. For more information on the team in the other clubhouse, check out the Astros blog The Crawfish Boxes. For more news and notes from around Major League Baseball, check out the MLB Hub on SBNation.com.