Welcome to our discussion for tonight's Nationals-Astros game from Minute Maid Park. I'm taking a night off from the live thread, but you can discuss the game here, and I'll respond to some comments during the game.
Here are the lineups for the second of four between the two teams:
10:16: Brett Myers is done, and the Nationals had just four hits off him. They're only in this game because of all the Astros' defensive mistakes, and even then, they trail by two runs through seven. It wasn't a good night for Craig Stammen, who gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings and didn't do much to take himself out of the conversation about who heads to the minors when Stephen Strasburg comes up. The Nats have a shot in the top of the eighth with Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham coming to the plate.
10:27: This Astros team reminds me of the Nationals last year - Ray Knight's talked about it quite a bit on the broadcast, but it seems like they're consistently finding ways to lose. Brandon Lyon just gave up two walks and a single, and nicked Willie Harris on the arm with the first pitch he threw him. The Nats have pulled within one in the eighth, and have the bases loaded with one out.
10:32: So much for that. Lyon got out of the inning pounding the Nationals with inside fastballs, getting Cristian Guzman to strike out on one on his hands to end the inning. So the Nationals left the bases loaded, and have struck out 12 times.
11:02: The Nationals have tied the game off Astros closer Matt Lindstrom, who you may remember walking a number of ninth-inning tightropes in Florida. Ian Desmond singled through the hole at short to tie the game, and the Nationals still have the bases loaded.
11:04: The rally is complete. Roger Bernadina singled to right, scoring Ryan Zimmerman to put the Nationals up a run. They've got chances to add on here, and could score another run or two before giving the ball to Matt Capps.
11:26: And so is the collapse. Capps blew his second save of the season, with Lance Berkman punching a 2-2 fastball on the outer half of the plate to left field, giving the Nationals an 8-7 win. Washington is back under .500, and while this probably wasn't a game the Nationals deserved to win, the fact that they had it in the hands of the heretofore reliable closer makes the loss hurt even more. They need to win the last two games of this series and get on a roll -- losing games to the Astros isn't the way to do it.