Nationals 9, Astros 7

March 14, 2013

Erik Bedard knows an injury has hurt his chances of breaking camp as a member of the Astros' rotation. Still, he's determined to give it a good shot.

Bedard gave up a leadoff double and a walk then struck out three straight in his first outing in two weeks, but the Houston Astros lost to a Washington Nationals split squad 9-7 on Wednesday.

''Obviously if I miss more time, you never know what can happen,'' he said after pitching an inning. ''They can put their eye on somebody else and they can take somebody else instead of me, but I'm just going to concentrate on pitching and doing the best I can.''

Bedard hadn't pitched since Feb. 26, when he strained a glut muscle.

''He took a page out of old, crafty veteran Jamie Moyer's book,'' said manager Bo Porter. ''He had (runners on) first and second, nobody out, and he goes: `I'm going to slow this game down to a crawl and I'm going to make pitch after pitch after pitch and I'm going to get out of this.' I told him I hope our young guys were watching.''

The Astros got a look at much of their potential starting staff, just not all in the loss to the Nationals.

Lucas Harrell, the 11-game winner last year, is recovering from a mild groin strain. He threw 20 pitches on the side.

Harrell hopes to start an exhibition game by the end of the week.

''There's nothing holding me back. I didn't feel any pain or any soreness or anything,'' he said. ''I'll have three more starts before we break. I'm the type of guy who doesn't necessarily need a ton of innings to be built up to start, but it is nice to have some innings under your belt before you break.''

The 22-year-old Jordan Lyles gave up six hits and three runs in his third spring training start. After a strong first inning, Lyles gave up four hits and a couple of runs in the third.

''Of course everyone wants to be in the big leagues, but that stuff doesn't worry me,'' said Lyles, who has given up 26 hits in eight innings. ''I know what I can do on the mound and I know where I'm at in the competition. I just have to throw quality strikes from here on out.''

Anthony Rendon had four hits for the Natonals, including a two-run home run in the eighth inning.

Rendon's fourth home run of spring training came off losing pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who gave up five of the Nationals' 17 hits.

Justin Maxwell's RBI triple highlighted a four-run first inning off Washington's Ross Ohlendorf, who gave up four runs on five hits in three innings.

Jose Altuve had three hits for the Astros and Brandon Laird hit his third home run.

NOTES: Former Astros star Craig Biggio will be in camp through the end of the week as a

special instructor, working with both major and minor leaguers. The 47-year-old Biggio, who came within 39 votes of being elected to the Hall of Fame last year, said he has not ruled out managing. ''You never know what tomorrow's going to bring, but I'm happy with the role I'm doing now,'' he said.