Houston scored in three of the first four innings to build a 5-0 lead, then piled on four more in the 8th to put the game away, 10-5.
Two No. 5 starters appeared for Washington, but only one was anywhere near effective.
A.J. Cole started and retired back-to-back hitters twice in three innings, giving up the first three Astros runs on five hits (including a HR) and no walks over three innings. He struck out four.
After reliever David Goforth dug the Nats deeper with a two-run 4th, Erick Fedde stranded a leadoff double in the 5th but was taken deep for a homer run with in the 6th. He would finish the inning and the outing with the one run let in, three hits total, no walks, and two whiffs.
Andrew Stevenson (CF) and Jose Marmolejos (DH) were the only Watchlist players in the starting lineup. Marmolejos got the scoring started with a two-run homer in the 5th while Stevenson bunted his way on to lead off the 6th and scored on Adrian Sanchez’s two-run single in the 6th that brought the Nats within one at 6-5.
Tim Collins made, um, short work of the Astros in the 7th, but Roman Mendez couldn’t find the strike zone in the 8th and issued three walks en route to the aforementioned four runs.
Just three other Watchlist players appeared:
● Kelvin Gutierrez pinch-ran for 3B Anthony Rendon in the 5th but struck out in the 6th and 9th innings.
● Taylor Gushue subbed for Matt Wieters at C and flew out in the 7th.
● Blake Perkins replaced Stevenson in CF and struck out to end the 7th.
The loss drops Washington to .500 at 6-6-1.
Max Schrezer is scheduled to pitch today for the Nationals as they visit the Cardinals. The game can be heard on MLB Audio (St. Louis feed).