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Nationals 4, Astros 3: Astros offense can't salvage game

Houston misses their chances against the Nats.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros-Nationals series appears to merely be an interleague matchup, but in reality, it's a gut-check for both teams. Two teams that are a lock to make the playoffs and hope to make deep runs.

Houston fans once again saw that the Astros are just a cut below without the numerous stars on the DL, losing 4-3 on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros manufactured a run in the first inning with a stolen base by George Springer and two-out RBI single from Josh Reddick. Houston went up 2-0 in the second inning after Carlos Betran hit his 24th double of the season, and Derek Fisher singled through the shift.

Howie Kendrick put the Nats on the board with a triple just out the reach of George Springer, scoring Matt Wieters and Wilmer Difo. The game was tied at 2-2.

Houston took the lead back in the third with second Reddick RBI single. But the Astros missed a chance, leaving the bases loaded with one.

Matt Wieters put the Nats up 4-2 with a two-run home run in the fourth inning.

Houston got two runners on with one out against Oliver Perez. But again Houston left them strained. Houston again loaded the bases in the eighth inning, but Max Stassi grounded into a double play — Stassi was still thrown out after Daniel Murphy bobbled the throw at second.

Houston went down in order in the ninth. In total, the Astros were 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

The few highlights for Houston were from Josh Reddick and Chris Devenski. Reddick was 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the cleanup spot. Devenski found the eye of the dragon again, pitching two clean innings with two strikeouts.

Charlie Morton went six innings, allowing four runs on five hits. A good outing if the Astros offense is in full swing.