Houston at Washington

Rain suspends Astros-Nats contest in 11th inning

CBSSports.com wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Two last-place teams with struggling bullpens and other assorted woes played on and on, giving away leads as though neither wanted to win.

Fittingly, neither the Washington Nationals nor the Houston Astros did win Tuesday. Instead, because the Astros don't return to Washington this season, they'll have to wait until July 9 to settle who gets the "W" for a mistake-filled game suspended by rain with the score tied at 10 in the 11th inning.

Play was halted with LaTroy Hawkins -- Houston's fifth pitcher -- about to face Josh Willingham with a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the 11th. After a wait of about 75 minutes -- and with heavy rain falling -- everyone was sent home.

All in all, it was a dreary afternoon, and not just because of the weather: These clubs botched basics over and over, combining for 13 walks, three errors, 18 runners left on base - and several other miscues.

"Both teams were kind of going back and forth, and you could just sort of feel it - both bullpens have been used a lot," said Washington's Ryan Zimmerman, who extended his hitting streak to 23 games. "Any time you can't hold [a lead], it's disappointing, obviously."

First, Houston led 5-2, thanks in part to Washington catcher Wil Nieves' way-off-the-mark throw on a sacrifice bunt in the fifth.

"Bad throw by the catcher, and I made some bad pitches. Combine all that together, and there's four runs," said Washington's Scott Olsen, who gave up five runs in five innings.

But the Nationals went up 8-5, sending 12 men to the plate in the sixth, when they scored six runs with the benefit of only -- get this! -- two hits. They had plenty of help: five walks, a hit batter and an error.

"One of the weirdest situations I've ever seen. We go from pitching really great [for] one, two days, and then just the opposite. I don't know what the heck to do. I don't know how to explain it," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "How many did we walk today? 10?"

Well, Skip, actually it was eight.

The trouble started for Houston when ace Roy Oswalt left in the sixth because he hurt a finger on his pitching hand while batting in the fifth. On came Chris Sampson, he of the three walks in 15 1/3 innings this season before Tuesday. On this day, he faced seven batters and walked four of them - forcing in three runs.

"I had a bad day," Sampson said. "I'm human. Everybody out there's human."

More proof of that followed. Tim Byrdak entered and got a grounder to short - a simple play that should have ended the inning. But Miguel Tejada bobbled the ball and by the time he threw, it was too late, an error making it 7-5. When Byrdak hit Nick Johnson, it was 8-5.

"Just unbelievable," Cooper said. "And it wasn't one guy. It was a host of people."

A night earlier, Astros relievers walked in two runs as part of a three-inning, seven-run bullpen outing that led directly to Washington's 9-4 victory.

"The last two games were just very ugly," Hawkins said. "Just very, very ugly."

This time, though, the Nationals gave it right back.

Houston tied it at 8 with a three-run seventh, which included an error by shortstop Cristian Guzman, who dropped a throw. In the eighth, Garrett Mock walked Darin Erstad, who scored on a wild pitch to put Houston ahead 9-8.

"A couple plays that we didn't make cost us six runs total," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "When your pitching is struggling, you have to catch the ball."

Guzman's first homer of 2009, a two-run shot off Geoff Geary in the eighth, gave Washington a 10-9 edge. The Astros tied it in the ninth on Geoff Blum's sacrifice fly off Kip Wells.

"We've got leads that we need to hold," Nationals acting GM Mike Rizzo said. "We need to play better defense, and we need the bullpen to perform."


  • Oswalt hasn't won this season.
  • Washington is sending RHP Saul Rivera to Triple-A Syracuse and bringing LHP Joe Beimel off the DL. Beimel will get a chance to earn the closer's job, Acta said.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
He's a hit: Nats 3B Ryan Zimmerman comes through with two singles, moving his hitting streak to 23 games.  (AP)
He's a hit: Nats 3B Ryan Zimmerman comes through with two singles, moving his hitting streak to 23 games. (AP)

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Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF6222011 .301
Jeff Keppinger, 2B5120100 .368
Lance Berkman, 1B4100211 .189
Carlos Lee, LF4111111 .293
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
   a- Jason Michaels, PH1010000 .300
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
Miguel Tejada, SS6133002 .297
Hunter Pence, RF6121003 .302
Ivan Rodriguez, C6021012 .259
Geoff Blum, 3B5111015 .282
Roy Oswalt, P2100000 .091
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .000
   b- Darin Erstad, PH-LF1100110 .154
a-singled for Geary in the 11th
b-walked for Byrdak in the 8th
2B - Michael Bourn (5, Olsen), Jeff Keppinger (4, Olsen), Miguel Tejada 2 (8, Olsen, Olsen), Hunter Pence (5, Wells), Ivan Rodriguez (6, Olsen)
SF - Geoff Blum (3)
SH - Roy Oswalt (3)
RBI - Michael Bourn 2 (9), Carlos Lee (20), Miguel Tejada 3 (8), Hunter Pence (11), Ivan Rodriguez (11), Geoff Blum (6)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Tejada 2 (4), Ivan Rodriguez (3)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Tejada-Keppinger-Berkman
E - Miguel Tejada (4, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt 5444241 4.26
Chris Sampson 0.2142410 2.25
Tim Byrdak 1.1100000 1.80
Geoff Geary 3422111 5.21
LaTroy Hawkins 0.1000110 2.84
HBP - N. Johnson (by Tim Byrdak)
WP - Roy Oswalt (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 89-0, Chris Sampson 26-0, Tim Byrdak 18-0, Geoff Geary 41-0, LaTroy Hawkins 8-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 3-7, Chris Sampson 1-0, Tim Byrdak 4-1, Geoff Geary 5-3
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 20, Chris Sampson 7, Tim Byrdak 7, Geoff Geary 14, LaTroy Hawkins 2
Washington Nationals
Cristian Guzman, SS6232000 .381
Nick Johnson, 1B4221101 .333
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B6121005 .333
Adam Dunn, RF5000033 .282
    Austin Kearns, RF1000010 .262
Elijah Dukes, CF4222202 .309
Josh Willingham, LF2101301 .135
Anderson Hernandez, 2B3101102 .302
    Kip Wells, P0000000 .000
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
Wil Nieves, C2000010 .083
   a- Willie Harris, PH1000013 .200
    Julian Tavarez, P0000000 .000
    Garrett Mock, P0000000 .000
    Ronnie Belliard, 2B2000001 .143
Scott Olsen, P1000010 .000
   b- Alex Cintron, PH1000000 .000
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
   c- Jesus Flores, PH-C2111101 .293
a-struck out for Nieves in the 6th
b-flied out for Olsen in the 5th
c-walked for Rivera in the 6th
HR - Cristian Guzman (1, Geary), Elijah Dukes (4, Oswalt)
SH - Kip Wells (1)
RBI - Cristian Guzman 2 (6), Nick Johnson (7), Ryan Zimmerman (19), Elijah Dukes 2 (18), Josh Willingham (3), Anderson Hernandez (8), Jesus Flores (12)
2-OUT RBI - Nick Johnson (2), Elijah Dukes 2 (9), Jesus Flores (4)
SB - Elijah Dukes (2, 2nd base off Byrdak/Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Belliard-N. Johnson
E - Ronnie Belliard (2, Throwing), Cristian Guzman (1, Missed catch of throw)
Washington Nationals
Scott Olsen 5655240 6.54
Saul Rivera 1000000 8.49
Julian Tavarez (H,3) 0.1233100 6.97
Garrett Mock 1211200 5.63
Kip Wells 2.2111010 2.00
Joel Hanrahan 1300010 6.00
IBB - Lee by Scott Olsen
WP - Garrett Mock (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Olsen 92-0, Saul Rivera 8-0, Julian Tavarez 22-0, Garrett Mock 23-0, Kip Wells 25-0, Joel Hanrahan 16-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Olsen 4-8, Saul Rivera 3-0, Julian Tavarez 1-0, Garrett Mock 2-2, Kip Wells 5-2
Batters Faced - Scott Olsen 24, Saul Rivera 3, Julian Tavarez 4, Garrett Mock 8, Kip Wells 9, Joel Hanrahan 5
Game Information
Attendance - 19328
Game Time - 3:53
Temperature - 58
Umpires - Home - Lance Barksdale, First Base - Brian Knight, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Mike Winters