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Washington Nationals drop 5-4 decision to Houston Astros: Joe Ross not sharp, Koda Glover allows first run this Spring

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Joe Ross gave up four runs (two earned) in 4+ innings pitched and the Astros scored the first run this Spring against Koda Glover in what ended up a 5-4 loss for the Nationals.

Boston Red Sox v Washington Nationals Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Joe Ross held Houston off the board through four scoreless last week in West Palm Beach, Florida’s Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Astros’ hitters jumped on the Washington Nationals’ right-handed starter early this afternoon, however, scoring a run on three hits in a 17-pitch opening frame, adding two more in the second and another in the fifth in what ended up a 5-4 game in Houston’s favor when Koda Glover gave up his first run of the Spring in the ninth.

Ross vs the Astros: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 76 P, 52 S.

Here’s how it happened:

Marwin Gonzalez bunted his way on with one down in the first, took third on a hard-hit single to right by Astros’ third baseman Yulieski Gurriel and scored when catcher Brian McCann bounced an RBI single off the right field wall, 1-0 Houston.

Trea Turner singled to start the Nationals’ half of the first inning, but the speedy Nats’ infielder was picked off first with Stephen Drew at the plate when Astros’ backstop Juan Centeno made a snap-throw to first base.

After the baserunning gaffe in the first, Turner made a throwing error in the second, sailing a throw to first on a grounder to short with a runner on second and allowing a second run to score, 2-0 Astros. Turner’s second error of the Spring.

Reid Brignac, who reached base and took second on the error by Turner, scored the Astros’ third run of the game when George Springer lined a single to center in the next at bat, 3-0.

Joe Ross was up to 41 pitches after two when an unassisted double play on a line drive to short ended the top of the inning.

Nationals’ outfielder Brian Goodwin made a diving catch in right-center field “the play of the day” according to Dave Jageler and potentially the “play of the Spring” according to Charlie Slowes, robbing Jake Marisnick of a potential RBI/extra base hit.

Astros’ starter Charlie Morton struck out five of the first six batters he faced this afternoon, with Trea Turner’s single, before he got picked off, the only non-K for the Nationals in the first two innings.

Houston’s fielders committed three errors on one play in the bottom of the third, when Trea Turner singled with two down, after a two-out walk to Chris Heisey.

Turner singled, and a throw to third for Heisey was wide, allowing him to score.

Another error on the throw home allowed Turner to take third, and the throw to third trying for Turner was wide too, allowing him to score too... Single + E:9 + E:1 + E:5 = Little League HR, 3-2 Astros.

Ross was up to 58 pitches after an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth in which he struck out two of the three Astros he faced.

Marwin Gonzalez doubled to start the Astros’ fifth, and he scored in the next at bat when Brian Goodwin and Bryce Harper converged on a Yulieski Gurriel fly to right-center and let it drop between them for an “RBI double” that made it 4-2 ‘Stros.

A two-out HBP in the fifth ended Ross’s outing: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 76 P, 52 S. 4-2 Astros.

Matt Wieters connected for his first hit as a National in the first at bat of the fifth, and he took third on a double by Brandon Snyder in the next at bat, before scoring when Bryce Harper took a bases-loaded walk from Tony Sipp with two down, 4-3 HOU.

Joe Nathan tossed another scoreless inning in the top of the seventh, retiring the three batters he faced in order and Grant Green tied it up at 4-4 with a solo home run off Michael Feliz in the home-half of the frame. Green’s first of the Spring.

Rafael Martin worked around a one-out single for a scoreless eighth.

Koda Glover came on in a tie game in the ninth and gave up a leadoff double by Max Stassi, who took third on a groundout and scored on an RBI single by Alejandro Garcia. 5-4 Astros.

It was the first run Glover allowed in seven innings of work this Spring, and it was enough to give the Astros the win.

Final Score: 5-4 Astros.