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Late inning heroics lift Nats to win

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Late inning heroics lift Nats to win

HOUSTON (AP) -- Danny Espinosa hit a two-run homer early, and his RBI single in the 12th inning lifted the Washington Nationals to a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Michael Morse was 0 for 4 when he doubled to start the 12th inning and extend his career-high hitting streak to 16 games. He was replaced by pinch-runner Cesar Izturis, who was making his first appearance for Washington after being claimed off waivers from Milwaukee on Monday.

Roger Bernadina advanced Izturis to third with a sacrifice bunt. Espinosa's sharp grounder off Mickey Storey (0-1) skipped past the pitcher for a hit that brought Izturis home and gave the Nationals their second straight extra-inning win over Houston.

The loss dropped the Astros to 0-11 in extra-inning games this season. Washington beat them 5-4 in 11 innings on Monday.

Houston's Steve Pearce singled off Tyler Clippard in the 12th before Carlos Corporan drew a two-out walk. Bernadina, the center fielder, crashed into the wall while making a diving catch on a ball hit by Brett Wallace to secure the win.

Washington pinch-hitter Chad Tracy doubled with two outs in the 10th for the only hit by either team in the first two extra innings.

Drew Storen (1-0) retired the last two hitters in the 11th for the win, and Clippard earned his 23rd save.

Pearce drew a two-out walk in the ninth before Ryan Mattheus intentionally walked pinch-hitter Scott Moore, but pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic grounded out to send the game to the 10th.

Ben Francisco gave Houston an early lead with a two-run homer off Ross Detwiler to the Crawford Boxes in left field in the first inning. The lead was short-lived as Espinosa tied it at 2-all with his two-run shot to right field off Jordan Lyles in the second.

Both pitchers quickly got back on track.

Detwiler set down the next 10 Astros he faced, with Houston's next hit not coming until back-to-back singles by Pearce and Matt Downs with two outs in the fourth inning.

Detwiler retired Brandon Barnes, who was making his major league debut on Tuesday, and allowed just one baserunner -- a walk in the sixth -- after that. He was replaced by Michael Gonzalez for the eighth inning.

Detwiler allowed three hits and two runs with two strikeouts in seven innings.

Jose Altuve recorded Houston's first hit since the fourth inning with a two-out single in the eighth. He stole second base, but the Astros came away empty when Michael Gonzalez retired Marwin Gonzalez.

Lyles was equally effective, retiring the next nine batters he faced after the homer. Jesus Flores broke the streak with a double with two outs in the fifth.

Lyles walked a batter in the sixth and seventh innings, but didn't give up another hit until he was chased by a single by pinch-hitter Jayson Werth to start the eighth.

Wesley Wright replaced Lyles and struck out two, before Fernando Rodriguez threw 1 1-3 perfect innings.

Lyles yielded three hits and two runs with six strikeouts in seven-plus innings.

NOTES: Werth, who left Monday night's game with sore legs, was held out of the lineup on Tuesday, but he pinch-hit in the eighth inning. Werth was reinstated last Thursday after missing almost three months with a broken left wrist. ... Houston placed CF Jordan Schafer on the 15-day disabled list with an injured left shoulder on Tuesday. The Astros aren't sure how long the injury will keep him out. "I really have no timetable," Schafer said. "Whenever I feel healthy, whenever I get better, then I'll get back in there." Houston purchased the contract of Barnes to take Schafer's spot on the roster.

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Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

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USA Today

Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy's two-run single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 on Sunday night to salvage the finale of the three-game series.

Anthony Rendon homered and doubled, Bryce Harper tied a career high with three doubles and Michael A. Taylor and Murphy each had three singles in a game that was delayed 38 minutes by rain in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams homered for the Phillies, who had won three straight.

Pinch hitter Brian Goodwin led off the eighth with a walk against Victor Arano. With one out, right-hander Seranthony Dominguez (1-2) came on to face Harper, who doubled to right, with Goodwin stopping at third.

After Rendon grounded out, Juan Soto was intentionally walked and Murphy lined a 1-2 pitch to shallow right. Taylor's single made it 8-6.

Ryan Madson (2-3) pitched the eighth inning, and Sean Doolittle finished it for his 21st save.

The Phillies took a 6-2 lead in the fifth on a two-run triple by Odubel Herrera and a two-run homer by Williams.

Washington pulled within a run at 6-5 in the sixth with four two-out hits, including an RBI triple by Trea Turner and RBI doubles by Harper and Rendon.

Nick Pivetta went five innings and allowed two runs on eight hits for the Phillies.

Washington starter Jefry Rodriguez was charged with four runs and five hits in four-plus innings.

The Phillies broke on top on Hoskins's two-run homer in the third.

Rendon made it 2-1 with a solo homer in the fourth. The next three hitters singled, tying the game, but with the rain intensifying, out came the tarp. When play resumed, Pivetta struck out three straight to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: C Andrew Knapp left in the seventh with a right knee contusion. ... 3B Maikel Franco slipped on first base and fell hard in the eighth. He stayed in to run, but left after the half-inning. ... INF Jesmuel Valent?n was placed on the paternity leave list and OF Dylan Cozens (left quadriceps strain) was reinstated from the 10-day DL.

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) allowed 11 runs in 4 2/3 innings of a rehab start at Class A Potomac on Sunday. "I'm more concerned with the way he feels," manager Dave Martinez said, downplaying the results. "We'll go from there." ... RH reliever Brandon Kintzler (right forearm flexor strain) threw a scoreless inning at Potomac. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) played catch on the field again. "We'll keep doing his throwing progression and figure out when he can actually throw from the mound," Martinez said.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.82) starts the opener of a series against the Yankees on Monday. He is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in two games vs. New York.

Nationals: RHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08) opens a series at Tampa Bay on Monday. He is 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA in six games against the Rays.

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Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

WASHINGTON -- Having already won their first series at Nationals Park since April 2016, the Philadelphia Phillies will go for the sweep of Washington on Sunday night.

Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08 ERA) faces Nationals right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66).

Pivetta was drafted by the Nationals in 2013 and went to the Phillies in 2015 as part of the Jonathan Papelbon trade.

After struggling for three straight starts -- giving up 13 runs in 14 innings -- Pivetta allowed two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals last time out, striking out a career-high 13 batters.

"That's some of the best stuff I've seen him have all year," catcher Andrew Knapp told mlb.com. "The curveball was electric."

Pivetta got 11 swings and misses with the curveball.

"It was nice to have it back," Pivetta told mlb.com. "It all started with my delivery. I was staying up through it, not trying to rush too much and it worked out."

It his first start -- and second big-league appearance -- the 24-year-old Rodriguez picked up a win against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. He allowed five runs, four hits and three walks in five innings.

Rodriguez and Satuday's losing pitcher, Erick Fedde, are filling in for injured starters Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson.

The Phillies have outscored the Nationals 17-5 in the fist two games of the series. On Saturday, Maikel Franco had four hits and Carlos Santana homered to back Aaron Nola in a 5-3 victory.

"That was just a tremendous all-around baseball game," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco. "It's so interesting how we've been looking for him to be not just a hitter but a defender and a baserunner and an all-around athlete."

Franco drove in a run and scored twice, including the go-ahead run when he scored just ahead of the tag on Jesmuel Valentin's sacrifice fly.

The Phillies, who have won six of seven, pounded out double-digit hits for the second day in a row in Washington.

"They have a lot of patient hitters," Fedde said of the Phillies. "I think that's what makes it tough. Guys aren't swinging at bunch of junk, so you have to attack them."

The Phillies have now won four straight series for the first time since May 2016 and are 2-0 in what will be a stretch of 10 games against the Nationals and the New York Yankees.

Anthony Rendon homered and Daniel Murphy had a two-run single for Washington, which has lost three of four while scoring nine runs.

"Look, I've got all the confidence in the world we're going to start hitting," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We'll start scoring some runs. Right now, the bullpen is a little beat up. We've got to get them going again."

Rendon is doing his part. In his las 15 games, he is batting .382 with seven doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs.

Hellickson (right groin strain) will make a rehab start Sunday for Class A Potomac and then is expected to rejoin the Nationals' rotation.

Hernandez said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) is about a week from beginning a rehab assignment.