National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, August 8th (All times eastern)
Washington Nationals (67-43) at Houston Astros (36-75), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Gio Gonzalez (13-6, 3.34) Houston - Armando Galarraga (0-1, 5.23)
(Sports Network) - The Armando Galarraga experiment continues tonight at Minute Maid Park, where the 29-year-old Venezuelan gets his third start with the Houston Astros in the third test of a four-game series with the Washington Nationals.
Author of an infamous near-perfect game while with the Detroit Tigers, Galarraga has struggled to find consistency since the Tigers dealt him to Arizona for a pair of minor-leaguers in January 2011.
He was 3-4 in eight starts with the Diamondbacks last season and was signed and released by the Baltimore Orioles this spring before latching on with the Astros as a free agent in May.
A nine-start stint at Triple-A Oklahoma City saw him win three of five decisions with a 4.12 earned run average and prompted the call-up to the majors, where he's pitched twice and allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 10 1/3 innings.
Galarraga has never faced the Nationals.
In Tuesday's second game, Danny Espinosa's RBI single in the top of the 12th inning and a game-saving grab by Roger Bernadina in the bottom half was the difference as Washington claimed a 3-2 win.
Espinosa drove in Michael Morse - who extended his hit streak to a career-best 16 games - to give the visitors the lead, then Bernadina crashed into the padding along the wall in left center to rob Brett Wallace of a potential game-winning extra-base hit.
"It was sensational." Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He disappeared and then he came out holding the glove high and I said 'This is great. Let's get out of here.'"
That catch made a winner of Drew Storen (1-0) who recorded the final two outs in the 11th, and assured Tyler Clippard of his 23rd save.
Espinosa added a two-run homer for the Nationals, who have won six of seven.
Ben Francisco slugged a two-run homer for the Astros, losers in nine of their last 11.
"Honestly I don't think that we can worry about that," Wallace said. "You can't look at those numbers and you can't worry about what has happened in the past. We just have to keep going."
Mickey Storey (0-1) was charged with the deciding run over two relief innings.
Washington starts game three with breakout left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who's followed two successful American League seasons with a strong National League debut.
The 26-year-old appeared in 95 games over parts of four seasons with Oakland - including win totals of 15 and 16 in 2010 and 2011, respectively - before heading to Washington in a six-player deal in December.
Gonzalez improved to 13-5 in his first NL season with a 5-2 defeat of the New York Mets on July 24, but is 0-1 in two starts since while allowing 14 hits and nine runs in 14 innings.
He won his lone career start against Houston on April 17 after pitching seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball with eight strikeouts in the Nationals' 2-0 victory.
The Nationals won three of four games from the Astros when the teams last met in Washington in April.
They've split season series for three straight years since Houston won, four games to two, in 2008.
08/08 10:56:51 ET