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News » No lead is safe for Astros, Nats After a mutual pounding of pens, rain suspends 10-10 game in 11th


No lead is safe for Astros, Nats After a mutual pounding of pens, rain suspends 10-10 game in 11th


No lead is safe for Astros, Nats After a mutual pounding of pens, rain suspends 10-10 game in 11th
WASHINGTON - Perhaps fitting because the Washington Nationals and Astros' bullpens kept giving away leads, neither team walked away with a victory Tuesday afternoon at Nationals Park.

Neither club lost, either. The horrific display of Baseball became a suspended game because of rain.

"This game today is the one game that everybody wants to erase from the season," said Geoff Geary, who gave up Cristian Guzman's two-run eighth-inning homer that gave the Nationals a brief 10-9 lead.

The finale of a two-game set will be resumed July 9 at Minute Maid Park with the score tied at 10, one out and one National on base in the bottom of the 11th. Once that game is decided with the Nationals as the home team, the scheduled opener of the four-game series will be played.

Sampson goes wild

It's an understatement to say the Astros' bullpen struggled for the second consecutive day, considering Chris Sampson gave up four runs (two earned) and four walks (three with the bases loaded) over two-thirds of an inning after he was called to protect a 5-2 lead in the sixth.

"They did everything they could to keep the game tied," LaTroy Hawkins said of the Nationals. "And we did everything we could to let them tie it. The last two games were just very ugly; that's all. Just very, very ugly."

The Astros' problems began when Roy Oswalt was unable to continue in the sixth because of a bone bruise in his right index finger, which he hurt dropping a sacrifice bunt in the fifth.

Given a 5-2 lead to protect with two men on and nobody out, Sampson and Tim Byrdak let the Nationals practically walk their way through a six-run rally in the sixth to take an 8-5 lead.

"It's one of the weirdest situations I've ever seen," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "From pitching really great two days, and the next two days it's just the opposite. I don't know what the heck the deal is."

Guzman led off the sixth with a single to center and reached second on a wild pitch. With the count 2-0 on Nick Johnson, pitching coach Dewey Robinson, trainer Nate Lucero and Cooper checked on Oswalt.

Oswalt was pulled after walking Johnson. Sampson induced a groundout to first from Adam Dunn, but Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI single to cut the Astros' lead to 5-3.

Elijah Dukes followed with a walk to load the bases. Josh Willingham also walked to plate a run. Sampson then issued a four-pitch walk to Anderson Hernandez to tie the score at 5. He struck out pinch hitter Willie Harris for the second out but issued another RBI walk to pinch hitter Jesus Flores to give the Nats a 6-5 lead, prompting a call to Byrdak.

"It was just one of them days," Sampson said. "It seemed like I couldn't find the zone out there and unfortunately gave up Roy's runs. I feel bad about that. I'd rather give up my own runs than come in and give up somebody else's runs."

Byrdak induced a grounder to short from Guzman, but Miguel Tejada bobbled it for an error to let in another run and keep the bases loaded. The Nationals added another run when Byrdak hit Johnson with a pitch.

Astros counterattack

The Astros countered with three runs in the seventh on an RBI single by Carlos Lee, an RBI single by Tejada and Hunter Pence's fielder's choice grounder to second.

The Astros added another run in the eighth to take a 9-8 lead when Darin Erstad scored on Garrett Mock's wild pitch to Lance Berkman. Guzman's two-run homer gave the Nationals the lead, but the Astros weren't done. Pence led off the ninth with a double off Kip Wells, moved to third on Ivan Rodriguez's groundout to second, and tied the score at 10 on Geoff Blum's sacrifice fly.

"What I loved most about this game is the offense kept putting up runs," Geary said. "They kept going out there, and they never gave up. We didn't do our jobs, but they kept carrying us today."

Neither bullpen did its job, which is why the game wasn't decided before rain forced a delay of one hour, 16 minutes and the eventual suspension.

"They fell behind in the count, and they couldn't throw strikes," Rodriguez said of his relievers. "It's very rare for Sampson to walk so many batters, but it's part of the game."

jesus.ortiz@chron.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 7, 2009

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