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Washington Nationals drop 8-3 decision to Houston Astros: Gio Gonzalez shaky in 4 2⁄3 innings in Nats’ loss...

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Gio Gonzalez got his work in... and, uh, well, the Washington Nationals didn’t look particularly sharp in an 8-3 loss to the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach, FL.

MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at Washington Nationals Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez wasn’t particularly sharp, giving up six hits and two walks in a 95-pitch start against the Houston Astros, who scored eight runs total (four of them earned) while the Washington Nationals’ lefty was on the hill in what ended up an 8-2 win for the defending World Series champs in West Palm Beach, FL’s FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Gio vs ‘Stros: Gio Gonzalez went five innings on 77 pitches last time out before today, in a solid outing against the St. Louis Cardinals last week. He gave up four hits, a walk, and an earned run in that start, which was his third outing of the Spring.

Gonzalez, 32, took his fourth turn in the rotation in Grapefruit League action today in West Palm Beach, FL, working around a HBP in the first inning, but running into trouble in the second when an E:6, single, and line drive, two-run triple put the “visiting” Astros up 2-0 early.

Josh Reddick, who hit the triple on a sharp grounder by first, scored on a sac fly, 3-0 after one and a half.

Gonzalez, who led qualified NL starters in walks last season (79 total in 201 IP, 3.54 BB/9), issued a one-out walk to Alex Bregman in the Astros’ third, but got an inning-ending 4-3 double play to erase the baserunner and end a 17-pitch third at 45 pitches overall.

Marwin Gonzalez took the second walk from the Nationals’ starter with one out in the top of the fourth, and scored on a two-run homer by Reddick, who battled with Gonzalez in a seven pitch at bat before hitting a 2-2 curve up in the zone inside out to right field, 5-0.

Back-to-back, one-out singles by George Springer and Bregman in the fifth were followed by an error on a fielder’s choice on a grounder as the Astros’ sixth run of the game scored, 6-0. Two more scored on a single to center by Marwin Gonzalez on a changeup low in the zone outside from Gonzalez, 8-0. That was it for Gio...

Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 8/2 GO/FO, 95P.

Mighty Mouse: Adam Eaton improved to 4 for 5 on the Spring with a leadoff single in the home-half of the first, sending a 1-2 fastball from Lance McCullers, Jr. out to left, by Alex Bregman in the shift in the hole at short. Nice AB. Nice piece of hitting. Eaton was 1 for 3 on the day before he was replaced.

Goody Got it: With two on and two out in the fifth, and Enny Romero on the mound after he took over for Gio Gonzalez, J.D. Davis hit a scorched liner to center for what looked to be an extra-base hit, but Brian Goodwin tracked it down and (fully extended) caught it to end the threat, though the Astros were already up 8-0 at that point.

Fedde, Fedde, Vici: Erick Fedde, currently a candidate for the fifth spot in the big league rotation (though we’re assuming he starts in Triple-A), gave up a leadoff single and a two-out walk in a scoreless, 22-pitch sixth inning.

Fedde worked around a one-out walk in the seventh, getting an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP out of Tyler White.

Finally! SOME RUNS... FOR THE NATS!!: Astros’ reliever Chris Devenski hit Miguel Montero, ending the veteran backstop’s afternoon, then, one out later, gave up a two-run home run to right by Matt Reynolds that made it 8-2 Houston. Second of the Spring for Reynolds.

Hair on fire + bat: Andrew Stevenson took a hanging-a$$ slider from Ken Giles for a ride in the bottom of the ninth, homering to right to make it respectable, 8-3 Astros. Stevenson’s second of the Spring.

Final Score: 8-3 Astros