VIERA, Fla. -- Jon Kemmer's single proved to be the difference as the Astros edged the Nationals, 4-3, at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday evening.The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning. With Colin Moran on first, Marwin Gonzalez swung at a 1-2 pitch from Nationals reliever
VIERA, Fla. -- Jon Kemmer's single proved to be the difference as the Astros edged the Nationals, 4-3, at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday evening.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning. With Colin Moran on first, Marwin Gonzalez swung at a 1-2 pitch from Nationals reliever Trevor Gott and hit the ball over the right-field wall to give Houston a 2-0 lead. Gonzalez went 2-for-3.
Moran added to Houston's lead in the sixth inning, when he singled off left-hander Aaron Laffey to score Nolan Fontana. Kemmer then made it a four-run game when he singled, scoring Moran.
The Nationals would not be shut out for long, scoring their first run in the bottom of the sixth inning off right-hander Joe Musgrove. With runners on first and third and one out, Matt den Dekker hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Jose Lobaton.
Washington made it a one-run game by scoring two runs in the seventh inning off Astros right-hander Chris Devenski. Matt Skole came home on a sacrifice fly by Trea Turner. Jhonatan Solano followed and singled to left, scoring Stephen Drew.
Right-hander Bronson Arroyo started for the Nationals and pitched three shutout innings and retired all nine hitters he faced.
Up next for the Astros: Scott Feldman will make his second start of the Grapefruit League when the Astros host the Tigers on Friday at 12:05 p.m.CT at Osceola County Stadium. Feldman, who is competing for one of the final two spots in the rotation, tossed a pair of scoreless innings in his spring debut.
Up next for the Nationals: They return to Space Coast Stadium on Friday and play the Mets at 1:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg will make his second start of the spring. In his last start, against the Tigers, Strasburg pitched two shutout innings and struck out five batters. He is scheduled to pitch three innings and throw 50 pitches against New York.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be
found on Twitter @WashingNats.