Meanwhile, over in Lake Buena Vista, Florida's Champion Stadium in ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney World Resort, the Nats and Atlanta Braves were playing the other half of today's split squad game.
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead early over the Braves when left-hander Alex Wood hit Danny Espinosa, who promptly stole second, took third on an error and then scored on a wild pitch. Veteran right-hander Chris Young got the start for the Nationals on the road in Atlanta's spring home.
Young started his outing with two scoreless in which he allowed two hits while striking out three, but a one-out walk to Jason Heyward in the second came back to haunt the big righty when Freddie Freeman hit a line drive, two-out, two-run home run over Denard Span's head and out to center field to make it a 2-1 Braves' lead after three.
Bryce Harper got thrown out trying to take an extra base on a single to left off Alex Wood in the top of the fourth.
Harper took second on a fielding error by Ryan Doumit in left, then tried to stretch it into a two-base gaffe only to get thrown out at third on a relayed throw in. 7-8-6-5 putout. Anthony Rendon singled in the next at bat, but Wood stranded the Nats' infielder two quick outs later.
Danny Rosenbaum gave up a leadoff walk, but got a double play and a groundout to second in a scoreless inning of work in the Braves' fourth.
The Nationals and Astros got underway just after 2:00 pm EDT following an hour-long delay.
Tanner Roark issued a leadoff walk to Houston's new center fielder, Dexter Fowler, in the bottom of the first inning against the Astros, then one-out later gave up a two-run double by 'Stros' backstop Jason Castro, whose two-base hit gave the home team a 1-0 lead. Roark needed 25 pitches to get through the opening frame.
The Nationals tied things up in the second. Tyler Moore reached on an error by Astros' shortstop Jonathan Villar, took second on a single by Scott Hairston and scored on an RBI double to center field off Eury Perez's bat. 1-1. Hairston took third on Perez's double and scored when Mike Fontenot drove him in with a groundout.
2-1 Nationals after one and a half.
Danny Rosenbaum gave up singles by Elmer Reyes and Matt Lipka in his second inning of work in the fifth, but the second hit caught Reyes on the cleat on the basepaths for the second out of a scoreless frame by the Nationals' lefty. Still 2-1 Braves.
Tanner Roark got Astros' outfielder Robbie Grossman looking for the second out of the second with his 33rd pitch of the game. A weak groundout to first from Jonathan Villar ended a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 inning that had Roark up to 38 pitches after two innings.
Jason Castro got to Roark again the second time he faced the Nationals' right-hander, hitting a two-run blast out to right after Dexter Fowler doubled to start the Astros' third. 3-2 Houston.
Clay Hensley gave up back-to-back one-out walks in the bottom of the sixth, but stranded both runners to keep the Nationals with one of the Braves. 2-1 ATL after seven.
The Nationals trailed, 3-2, but threatened to tie it up in the fourth. After Chris Snyder reached on an error by Jonathan Villar, Astros' right-hander Jerome Williams gave up a double by Scott Hairston that put two runners in scoring position with no one out. One out later, however, Snyder was thrown out at home on a Mike Fontenot grounder to first.
With two down in the top of the fourth, Nate McLouth was hit by a pitch from Williams, loading the bases with two down and a Will Rhymes single drove two runs in to put the Nationals up 4-3 after three and a half.
Luis Ayala gave up a one-out single in the Braves' eighth, but completed a scoreless inning of relief work. Still tied up at 2-2.
Tanner Roark was up to 62 pitches when he struck Matt Dominguez out to start the bottom of the fourth inning. Matt Williams lifted the right-hander there in favor of Craig Stammen. Roark's line: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks.
Stammen gave up three straight singles, one each by L.J. Hoes, Robbie Grossman and Jonathan Villar with Villar's scoring Hoes to tie things back up at 4-4.
The Braves won it in the bottom of the ninth when Elmer Reyes hit an RBI single off Nationals' right-hander Robert Benincasa to left field to score pinch runner Jose Peraza from second. Ballgame. Atlanta wins, 3-2 final.
Jose Lobaton walked to start the fifth against Astros' right-hander Rhiner Cruz. Tyler Moore's single moved Lobaton to second and the Nationals' catcher scored on an RBI hit by Chris Snyder that put Washington up 5-4 over Houston after four and a half. Mike Fontenot followed with a two-run single to center that brought Moore and Snyder in to make it 7-4 in the Nats' favor. Nate McLouth stepped in against new pitcher Darin Downs and hit a towering two-run blast out to right to make it 9-4 Nationals.
Craig Stammen struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Nats' skipper Matt Williams got an opportunity to challenge a play. Jamey Carroll singled to start the frame, but he was doubled up on a Jose Lobaton grounder. Williams challenged the play, arguing that Lobaton was safe at first, but the replay upheld the call. Nationals 0, Umpires 1.
Stammen's 41st pitch of the game was lined to left for a leadoff single in the Astros' sixth. A second straight hit by George Springer ended Stammen's day. Jerry Blevins took over on the mound. Big Astro Japhet Amador hit a long fly ball to center that Eury Perez tracked down, but Perez dropped it at the wall. Two runs score. 9-6 Nationals.
Bo Porter got an opportunity to challenge a play in the home-half of the seventh. Delino DeShields appeared to beat a throw from deep in the hole at short, but was called out at first. A review reversed the play and brought Jerry Blevins back out to the mound when he appeared to be out of the inning. Marwin Gonzalez singled in a run to make it 9-7 and end Blevins' day. Aaron Barrett got the final out of the inning.
Aaron Barrett threw a scoreless eighth to preserve the Nats' two-run lead.
Xavier Cedeno gave up a two-out single by Rene Garcia, who lined a hit to right. Pinch runner Adron Chambers took second on a wild pitch and scored on a Delino DeShields' single that made it 9-8 Nationals. Marwin Gonzalez doubled in a run to tied it up at 9-9 and an RBI single by George Springer gave the Astros a walk-off win. 10-9 final.