Blum deal: Astros top Nats in ninth

Blum deal: Astros top Nats in ninth

at Viera, Fla.
Thursday, March 20

Astros at the plate: Miguel Tejada drove in two runs for Houston. The Astros shortstop hit a solo home run in the first inning, and he drove in the second run three innings later with a single to left-center field. With two outs in the ninth inning, Geoff Blum hit a two-run homer off Nats closer Chad Cordero to give Houston the lead.

Nationals at the plate: Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run home run in the first inning, while Nick Johnson hit his first homer of the spring three innings later.

Astros on the mound: Right-hander Chris Sampson pitched five innings and gave up three runs on four hits. He struck out three batters and walked none.

Nationals on the mound: Left-hander Odalis Perez pitched six innings and gave up two runs on four hits. He struck out six batters and walked none.

Grapefruit League records: Astros 11-12, Nationals 9-13-2.

Up next for the Astros: The Astros return to Kissimmee, Fla., to play the Marlins on Friday afternoon at 12:05 CT. Houston right-hander Roy Oswalt will face Florida left-hander Andrew Miller.

Up next for the Nationals: The Nationals travel to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to play the Mets on Friday afternoon at 1:10 ET. Washington left-hander Matt Chico will face Mets right-hander Pedro Martinez. The last time these two teams met was on March 17, with the Mets defeating the Nats, 7-3.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.