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Updates: Nationals at Astros

I'll provide periodic updates. ...

4:20: The Nationals dropped to 0-9 after a walk-off single off of Sean Burnett. The Astros win, 8-7.

4:11: The Nationals tied the score, 7-7, in the ninth. Willie Harris walked, Eric Bruntlett doubled and Mike Morse scored Harris with an RBI groundout to second. Bruntlett was stranded at third. Sean Burnett, who pitched an easy eighth, is out for the ninth.

3:51: The Nationals inched closer in the eighth and trial 7-6 now. Justin Maxwell led off with a single, his second hit today. He stole second and went to third on a poor throw by catcher Kevin Cash, then scored on a wild pitch.

3:41: Atilano got out of the seventh with only one more running scoring, but the Nationals now trail 7-5. As much as Chico helped himself with his start against the Mets, he shredded that good will today. Six runs, eight hits, all earned.

3:31: The Nationals' elusive first spring victory may be slipping away. Matt Chico is coming out of the game after allowing five runs on eight hits in one-plus innings. The Astos lead, 6-5, after Kevin Cash's RBI double. Luis Atilano is replacing Chico with no outs in the seventh and men on second and third.

3:08: The Nationals took a 5-1 lead in the sixth when Justin Maxwell doubled and Ian Desmond followed with an RBI single. The Astros came back with two runs off of Matt Chico in his first inning, but the Nationals, looking for their first win, still lead 5-3.

2:26: Drew Storen replaced Olsen in the fourth and dominated the inning despite a bloop hit and a walk. He struck out Geoff Blum on three pitches, each a different pitch. Pedro Feliz reached on a bloop, 0-2 single. He walked Jason Casto, his college catcher at Stanford for a season, on five pitches, leaving balls high in his first throws from the stretch. He retired the last two batters he faced, striking out Edwin Maysonet on three pitches. Storen threw 15 pitches, 11 of them strikes.

2:03: Scott Olsen is done for the day after three innings. He allowed four hits, the last one a double to Hunter Pence in the third. He allowed one run and walked nobody. The Nationals still lead 2-1.

1:53: The Nationals lead, 2-1, after a two-out rally in the third inning. Ryan Zimmerman hit his second home run of the spring, a shot to rightfield that rode the wind over the fence. Chris Duncan walked. Josh Willingham followed with a double down the third base line. Adam Kennedy lined out to second to end the inning.

1:44: The Astros are stil up, 1-0, after two innings. Ian Desmond reached on a two-out double in the Nationals' half. Olsen allowed a leadoff single to Pedro Feliz. He retired the side in order after that, striking out Jason Castro looking at a curveball.

1:29: The Astros lead 1-0. Scott Olsen got off to a rough start, allowing a triple to left-center by Jason Bourgeois and a double by Jeff Keppinger to right, where the wind is blwoing very hard, to begin the game. Hunter Pence smoked a line drive to Justin Maxwell, and two more flyouts ended the inning. It is imperative Olsen keep the ball down in the wind, and he didn't do it.

1:18: Before the first pitch, former president George H. W. Bush and wife Barbara walked down to a seat in the front row next to the Astros dugout. Davey Johnson, who seemed like he knew Bush, introduced him to Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman. The umpiring crew also went over and said hello.

In the top of the first, the Nationals stranded two runners against Bud Norris. Willie Harris was hit by a pitch and stole second, and Chris Duncan walked.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 13, 2010; 1:12 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Cristian Guzman's return, Scott Olsen's start, Stephen Strasburg, part two
Next: Olsen is getting closer, but he's not there yet


A steady outing by Olsen; No K's & 7FO leave me a little nervious, but hey, it's better than him getting creamed.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected - Olsen had 1K.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Storen just got 4 outs in his inning, the hit was a misplayed popup in the wind

Posted by: sjt1455 | March 13, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Storen continues to impress. Whether it's April or whether it's June, looking forward to having him in DC.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see if Olsen was throwing a little harder today. If he gets past 90 he may be solid if not spectacular.

Posted by: p-man | March 13, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Storen is making a pretty solid case for himself to come north, as Capps still leaves me wanting in the closer role.

Duncan still leaves me a bit 'meh' in terms of a roster spot; He still has time.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Duncan can certainly go to Rochester and see if he can figure it out. Duncan circa '06 -'07 would be pretty useful.
I'm still betting Capps is the April closer and Storen waits until June, but Storen is certainly making this decision tougher for Mr. Rizzo.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 13, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Here is another vote to bring Storen north with the big league club in April...

I understand wanting Strasburg to get his feet underneath him with some starts in the minors... and the ability to delay his free agency by a year holding him back until June...

But Storen got his feet underneath him in the minors last year... and we need the help now!

Posted by: Ghost7 | March 13, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

From the post:

"3:08: The Nationals took a 5-1 lead in the sixth when Justin Maxwell doubled and Ian Desmond followed with an RBI single.

1:44: ...Ian Desmond reached on a two-out double in the Nationals' half."

DFA Guzman!

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 13, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Mat Chico may be pitching himself off this team! I write this before the last(?) update, maybe the NATS will pull it out if the relief can hold it to 6-5. I agree that Storen and Desmond should head North. But Guzman's 8 mill is a big number.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: ehardwick | March 13, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Desmond now 10 for 20?

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 13, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

A horrible outing from Chico - Should have known that even 5-1 isn't safe this time of year.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Well we took it to nine this time.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: ehardwick | March 13, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Guzman's 8 mil is still lower than Kearns 10 mil. He can sit on the bench if it comes to that.

Chico pretty much pushed JD Martin back into the picture as a starting pitcher.

Posted by: periculum | March 13, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

How much is Matt Chico hating this bus ride back to Viero? I feel for him.....

Posted by: Sunderland | March 13, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

@peric: Sometimes, you assume too much. The starting pitchers slots (excepting maybe Lannan & Marquis) should be there to win or lose based on performance, regardless of how much or what you may have read. Chico didn't 'push' Martin back into contention, but he didn't help himself either.

The final three slots still have multiple contenders (Balester, Chico, Hernandez, Martin, Mock, Olsen & Stammen, possibly Batista or Martis as well). There is still three weeks in Viera to look forward to. Don't look ahead too far, because what you see as truth today may become a fallacy tomorrow.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

With all the uncertainty in the starting rotation the painful process of separating the wheat from the chaff must continue. However, given the number of wounded warriors working their way back I look for an unsettled rotation for 6-8 weeks. Hate to see Strasburgh and Storen pulled up to stabilize things. At least they will be surrounded by veterans and not AAA retreads. Gulp!

Posted by: Natmeister | March 13, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

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