The Astros scored seven unanswered runs, including five against “closer” Rafael Soriano in the 6th, as they handed the Nats a 7-4 loss to end a modest streak of three wins and a tie.
Gio Gonzalez was charged with the loss, giving up a two-run homer and three hits total in two innings of work. The southpaw struck out five and walked one in his second spring start.
Blake Treinen turned in another solid outing against the Houston regulars, letting up two hits and two walks but fanning a trio in three scoreless frames.
Like a Kennedy at an open bar, Soriano got hammered again. He retired just two of eight batters faced (both on strikeouts), and was charged with five runs on five hits with no walks. In two appearances, the reliever has given up seven runs on eight hits over one and 1/3rd innings.
Aaron Barrett cleaned up after Soriano with a flyout to center to end the 6th and faced the minimum in the 7th, letting up a two-out single but picking him off to finish the frame. He walked none and struck out one to run keep his spring ERA at 0.00.
Zach Walters got the start at 2B and turned a double in four innings played before playing the last two defensive innings at SS. The 24-year-old Wyoming native walked and singled to end a two-game streak without a hit and push his average to .615 (8-for-13) in eight games.
Outfielder Steve Souza also started (in RF) and went deep for his first spring HR, a solo shot in the 6th off Astros minor-leaguer Michael Foltynewicz. The Nats 2007 3rd Rd. pick, who turns 25 next month, has gone 7-for-21 this spring with three doubles, three RBI, and two walks in 11 spring games.
Here’s a rundown of how the rest of the notable minors guys fared:
• Michael Taylor spelled Denard Span in CF but went 0-for-1
• Jeff Kobernus replaced Bryce Harper in LF and was 0-for-1
• Stephen Perez subbed for Walters at SS and went 2-for-2
• Sandy Leon followed Jose Lobaton at C and was 0-for-2 with a strikeout
• Theo Bowe drove in a run on a groundout in the 9th after pinch-running for DH Jhonatan Solano
• Brian Goodwin took over RF from Souza and went 1-for-2
The Nationals host the Yankees this afternoon in Viera with Jordan Zimmermann getting the start. The game will be televised live at 1 p.m. on MASN and can be seen on tape delay tonight on MLB Network at 9 p.m.