Thursday's game felt like a playoff game with two aces battling it out. Dallas Keuchel and Stephen Strasburg answered blow for blow through four innings.
The Nats broke through in the fifth. Keuchel walked Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters to open the frame. Pedro Severino cued a grounder perfectly between Keuchel and the left side of the infield. Keuchel's throw was wide, allowing Rendon to score. A groundout scored the second run.
Michael Taylor added an insurance run in the seventh inning with a double. Kuechel allowed two earned runs on four hits over seven innings, compared to Strasburg's six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
The Astros chipped away in the eighth inning. Carlos Beltran doubled to open the inning against Sean Doolittle, and Brian McCann (fresh off the DL) singled Beltran home.
Alex Bregman opened the ninth with a single off Brandon Kintzler. He moved to second on a groundout and scored on a Josh Reddick single. Yuli Gurriel rocketed a ball over the head of Howie Kendrick for a double and Reddick was off to the races from first to score.
With one out, Marwin Gonzalez and McCann couldn't find the final hit to end the game in the ninth.
Former Nat Tyler Clippard gave up a bunt single Wilmer Difo in the 11th inning, who moved to second on a ground. Ryan Zimmerman was brought back to the plate after a hit-by-pitch was overturned to foul ball, but he reached first on a strikeout passed ball. Difo moved to third on the plate and he scored on a flyout. Matt Wieters singled to center, scoring Zimmerman.
After former Astro Matt Albert shutdown the Astros in the 10th, Sammy Solis took over for Washington. J.D. Davis homered off Solis but the Nats pitcher retired the next three batters.