Washington Nationals (14-12) at Houston Astros (9-17), 8:10 p.m. (ET)

 

The Sports Network

(SportsNetwork.com) - Southpaw Gio Gonzalez makes his first start since being pulled from a game with shoulder tightness when the Washington Nationals visit Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night for the first of two interleague games with the Houston Astros.

Gonzalez threw 83 pitches over five innings and allowed two runs before leaving the game on Wednesday, which the Nationals ultimately won, 5-4, over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

He's not had much interleague success, not winning a single one of his last seven starts while compiling a bloated 6.88 earned run average.

Gonzalez has won two in a row against the Astros, however, allowing three runs in 16 innings against them in 2012, while they were still playing in the National League.

Houston, which has won just five home games in 14 tries, replies with righty Jared Cosart.

It's the first career interleague start for Cosart, who comes in after allowing just four hits in 6 2/3 innings against Seattle on Wednesday, though the Astros lost the game, 5-3.

One start previously, he was nicked for seven runs in just one-third of an inning at Oakland.

On Sunday in Washington, Ian Kennedy threw seven outstanding innings and the San Diego Padres' struggling offense finally broke through in a 4-2 decision over the Nationals that wrapped up a four-game set.

Joaquin Benoit allowed a leadoff homer to Nate McLouth in the eighth that brought Washington within 4-2, but combined with Huston Street to limit the Nationals to one hit the rest of the way.

Ross Detwiler (0-1) was tagged for four hits and walked one in 1 1/3 innings in relief of Taylor Jordan, who held San Diego to a run on three hits before being lifted after four frames due to an illness he was battling.

In Houston, Collin McHugh dazzled in his second start of the season to lead the Astros to a 5-1 win over the Athletics in the finale of a four-game set.

McHugh took a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning and retired the first two batters he faced before running into trouble. Brandon Moss was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Alberto Callaspo's bloop single to center before Raul Valdes relieved McHugh and got Craig Gentry to fly out to end the game.

McHugh (2-0), who finished his outing allowing a run on two hits with seven strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings, bounced around early in his career, making brief stints with the Mets and Rockies before finding a home in Houston. He went 6 2/3 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts in his season debut against the Mariners on April 22.

"He kind of slings the ball a little bit (but) stuff-wise I feel like he's OK. I don't think it was anything special," A's designated hitter Josh Donaldson said. "But he changed speeds well and whenever you're able to get strike one early, it's going to benefit you."

Jose Altuve homered for the Astros. He and Jonathan Villar both had two hits with a pair of RBI.

The Nationals won seven of eight versus the Astros in 2012, including a four- game sweep in Houston.

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