Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jason Marquis faces Wandy Rodriguez tonight at Nationals Park.
That does, however, mean Ivan Rodriguez will make back-to-back starts behind the plate for the first time in two weeks. Pudge has actually been pretty hot lately, with 11 hits in his last 31 at-bats, two homers and 12 RBI. Wilson Ramos, meanwhile, has done pretty well himself, with 8 hits in 27 at-bats (including two doubles and a homer) since his recall from Class AAA Syracuse at the beginning of the month.
Jason Marquis is on the mound tonight, hoping Friday night's implosion in Philadelphia in which he retired only one of nine batters was a bump in an otherwise smooth road back from elbow surgery. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez starts for Houston.
Check back for updates throughout...
ASTROS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to CF
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
LF Roger Bernadina
CF Justin Maxwell
P Jason Marquis
CF Jason Bourgeois
SS Angel Sanchez
2B Jeff Keppinger
LF Carlos Lee
3B Chris Johnson
1B Brett Wallace
RF Jason Michaels
C Jason Castro
P Wandy Rodriguez
7:05 p.m. -- This game is underway with a fastball from Jason Marquis to Jason Bourgeois in a big-time confrontation of dueling French classes.
7:12 p.m. -- Very nice first inning for Marquis. Three batters, three balls that stayed in the infield. Pop-up to third. Then grounders to short and third. He's already exceeded his last start by leaps and bounds.
7:24 p.m. -- Let's see, the Nats loaded the bases with two outs, getting a single from Adam Dunn, a double from Ryan Zimmerman and a walk drawn by Michael Morse. That brought Ivan Rodriguez to the plate. Repeat from last night's eighth inning? No. Weak grounder back to the mound? Yes. First inning over, no score, and the Nats have already stranded three men on base.
7:29 p.m. -- When's the last time you saw a runner called out for tagging up too early ... from first base??? Nice job, Carlos Lee. You win the award for Dumbest Play of the Night.
7:53 p.m. -- Three scoreless innings for Marquis now, though he did allow a pair of singles in the top of the third. Struck out Angel Sanchez to end the inning and keep things scoreless as we head to the bottom of the third.
8:00 p.m. -- And the Nats are on the board thanks to Danny Espinosa's triple off the center-field fence and Ian Desmond's infield single to the left-side hole. 1-0 in the third.
8:08 p.m. -- Fantastic, all-out diving catch by Roger Bernadina on Carlos Lee's line drive to left in the fourth.
8:14 p.m. -- Now it's time for the Astros to string together a two-out rally. After Bernadina's great catch, Marquis plunked Chris Johnson, then allowed back-to-back singles to Brett Wallace and Jason Michaels. So it's now 1-1 in the middle of the fourth.
8:49 p.m. -- Back from some time in the stands shooting photos. Unfortunately, I just missed Michael Morse clubbing a solo shot to center field to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Morse's 12th homer of the season put the Nats up 2-1, and they continue to hold that lead as we enter the sixth.
9:03 p.m. -- Nothing doing on either side in the side. Marquis coming back out for the top of the seventh, having allowed one run on six hits. He's at 95 pitches, and his ERA is at a season-low 7.01. (Progress, people. Progress.)
9:04 p.m. -- And before I can hit the "Post" button on that last update, Marquis allows a leadoff double to Jason Michaels and is promptly pulled by Jim Riggleman. Doug Slaten coming on to face Jason Castro.
9:08 p.m. -- And Slaten proceeds to walk pinch-hitter Anderson Hernandez on five pitches. With the opposing pitcher stepping to the plate with nobody out and two on, Riggleman now turns to Tyler Clippard.
9:20 p.m. -- And there goes the lead. Clippard walked Bourgeois on a questionable check swing that had Riggleman arguing vehemently. Then Sanchez singled to right, bringing the tying and the go-ahead runs home. Astros now lead 3-2, with Slaten suddenly in line for the loss.
9:26 p.m. -- Clippard did get out of the inning by striking out both Keppinger and Lee, but the damage was done earlier. The Nats will once again need a late-inning rally to win this one.
9:36 p.m. -- Danny Espinosa to the rescue! Two-run homer just over the wall in right-center puts the Nats up 4-3.
9:39 p.m. -- And guess who's suddenly in line to earn what would be his team-leading 11th win? Yep, Clippard.
9:42 p.m. -- Adam Dunn had better have injured his hand when he was hit by that pitch in the fifth. Otherwise, it's going to be really tough for Riggleman to explain pinch-hitting Kevin Mench for his best power hitter. Even against a left-hander, Dunn has a better chance of getting on base than Mench. Really strange.
9:46 p.m. -- Meanwhile, with Joel Peralta pitching the eighth and the Nats up 4-3, Riggleman could have his choice of Sean Burnett or Drew Storen to pitch the ninth. Intriguing decision either way.
10:02 p.m. -- Wow, Peralta's going to come back and at least start the ninth. He only threw 11 pitches in the eighth (and looked pretty good in the process). Burnett is warming in the pen, however.
10:04 p.m. -- Adam Dunn did indeed get hurt when hit by that pitch in the fifth. The Nats just said he suffered a right elbow contusion.
10:07 p.m. -- Peralta struck out three of four batters, but just like last night, with Geoff Blum stepping to the plate, Riggleman will call upon Burnett.
10:13 p.m. -- Burnett gets the job done, and the Nats win 4-3. Espinosa is the hero with his two-run homer in the seventh. Clippard is your new team leader with 11 wins. And Burnett notches his third save.