Viera, FL (Sports Network) – Rick Ankiel hit the tie-breaking two-run home run in a two-out, eight-run eighth inning rally to carry Washington past Houston, 14-9, in Grapefruit League play.
Brian Bixler’s three-run double tied the game at eight before Ankiel belted his long ball off Pat Urckfitz, the losing pitcher. Highly-touted prospect Bryce Harper doubled twice in the inning, including a two-run two-base hit.
Danny Espinosa added two hits and three RBI and Alex Cora supplied two hits, two runs scored and a run batted in for the Nationals.
Luis Maya yielded a run on five hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings for the Nats and Colin Balester picked up the win in relief despite giving up a run in his lone inning of work.
Chris Johnson and Michael Bourn hit home runs for the Astros, who also got a hit, two runs scored and two walks from Brett Wallace.
J.A. Happ allowed three unearned runs on three hits and a pair of walks in a three-inning turn for Houston.
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