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Astros Rally Over Nationals 7-6 in Second Spring Training Game

Five run ninth key to victory

MLB: Houston Astros at Washington Nationals
West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Houston Astros right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) celebrates his two-run homerun with second baseman Jose Altuve
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Down 6 to 2 going into the top of the ninth, the Astros pulled out the win today by stringing together seven consecutive men on base and five runs, grabbing a 7-6 victory in Game two of Spring Training over the Nationals

The rally began with a Freudis Nova walk, followed by an Abraham Toro single. Nova scored on a Bryan De La Cruz single. Scott Manea walked, loading the bases, and then Alex De Goti singled home Toro, chasing pitcher Jacob Condra-Bogan.

The hit parade continued against new pitcher Matt Cronin, with Ronnie Dawson singling home De La Cruz. The tying run was plated when Cronin hit Barber with a pitch, and Jeremy Pena put the Stros ahead with a two-strike sac fly, scoring De Goti.

Astros starter Nivaldo Rodriguez pitched two innings of scoreless ball, allowing two hits. Thirteenth round, 2018 draft pick Shawn Dubin allowed a run in the fourth in his Spring Training debut. Kent Emanuel surrendered one run in the sixth, and Riley Ferrel, a 2015 third-round pick, allowed a run in the seventh.

Most of the Nationals’ damage was done against opening day hopeful, Steve Cishek, who allowed consecutive homers to Josh Harrison, Ryan Zimmerman, and Yadiel Hernandez in the third inning.

Astro pitcher Ronel Blanco impressed with the wicked movement on his breaking ball. He pitched one and a third scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Although he allowed two hits, one was a routine fly ball lost in the sun, and the other was a swinging bunt, RBI single.

Kudos to winning pitcher Ryan Hartman, ninth-round, 2016 pick, who pitched the final two innings allowing no runs, no hits with two strikeouts, and preserving the one-run Astros win.

It was a good day for the new Astro, Steven Souza, who hopes to win an outfield job on opening day. He accounted for the other two Astros runs with a two-run homer in the fourth inning.

Only four likely starting position players saw action for the Astros, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, and Martin Maldonado. Only Maldonado managed a hit.

Box score Here