Singleton Leads Astros Over Nats

Jonathan Singleton has been the invisible man this spring.  The Astros are looking for someone to play first base and Singleton is not in the equation.  At least not for the first 50 games.  Singleton was suspended by major league baseball for fifty games for a drug of abuse and will start the season in AAA to get his spring training at bats.

Jonathan came up in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and one out, entering the game as a late inning substitution for Carlos Pena.  The previous inning the Astros had loaded the bases with one out and a Jason Castro strikeout and Carlos Corporan pop up ended that threat.  The Astros were down 4-1.  Singleton popped a line drive over the head of Denard Span, who appeared to have played the ball poorly in the gusting winds and the ball rolled to the fence for a triple, tying the game.  Trevor Crowe drove in Singleton with a single and Matt Dominguez lined a double past the plodding Micah Owings in left field to put the Astros up for good 6-4.

The Nationals started Chris Young.  It was their last opportunity to see him before making a decision about keeping him or releasing him as a free agent.  He limited the Astros to one run in four innings of work, not impressive enough for the Nationals to put him on their 25-man roster.  The only run he gave up was in the fourth when a fly ball hit off the heel of the glove of a charging Bryce Harper for a two base error, scoring Fernando Martinez from first.  Davey Johnson could be seen talking to Chris after the fourth telling him day was done and so appeared to be his career as a National.

The Astros started Alex White.  He was fine the first time through the order, limiting the Nationals to one hit in seven at bats with one walk.  The second time through the order he gave up seven hits in 13 at bats, not counting the single by Chris Young.  Pitcher Young started a rally off him in the third by bouncing a single past the first base bag.  Many Astro fans thought the ball was foul, but their opinion did not count.  Singles by Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper scored Young for the first run.

The Nationals stroked three hits off White again in the fourth to score a run, Wilson Ramos getting the RBI single.  They scored two more in the fifth, a ground ball double play plating one and an Adam LaRoche solo shot scoring the other to make it 4-1.

Xavier Cedeno came on to get the last three outs for the Astros, giving up one hit to end the game and picking up the save.

Game Notes: Jonathan Singleton showed some speed motoring around the bases for his triple…Brandon Barnes appears to have made the 25-man roster as an extra outfielder, but he didn’t help his cause in the seventh after a strikeout with the go ahead run on third.  The ball scooted past the catcher and there was some confusion as to whether he should run or not.  He broke for first and then stopped, but eventually he was thrown out after Wilson Ramos tried to give the home plate umpire the ball and he wouldn’t accept it…Bryce Harper went 3 for 3, though his first hit should have been ruled an error.  It skipped under the glove of Carlos Pena, a ball he should have had…Danny Espinosa had another two strike single, lining an 0-2 curveball up the middle.  He also had a wasted at bat when he popped up with runners on first and second with no out.  Davey would have been better off bunting him…Jose Veras looked good for the Astros.  He retired the side in order in the seventh, the first time myworld has seen that from him…The onfield microphone was not working so the national anthem had to be sung without it.  They finally brought the microphone out in the seventh, but it was still spotty…Marwin Gonzalez had a bunt single to start the game and had a seeing eye hit between first and second in the seventh inning rally…The Nationals played sloppy tonight.  They had a popup drop between Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond.  Fortunately there was a runner on first and they were able to force him out.  Chad Tracy also misjudged a popup and Desmond was there to bail him out as the ball curved into fair territory.  The winds were blowing.  Bryce Harper also had a ball bounce off the heel of his glove as he was charging in for it from left field, scored as a two base error.  Finally, Wilson Ramos tried to return a ball to the umpire after a swing and a miss on a third strike with a runner on third and no out.  Fundamentals will be important if the Nationals want to appear in the World Series…Micah Owing does not play the outfield well.  He is a slower version of Mike Morse.  If he makes the team it will be strictly to pinch hit.

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