Astros go yard twice, while Musgrove sharp

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Marisnick, Houston’s Nos. 8 and 9 batters in the lineup, homered in successive innings to power the Astros past the Nationals, 5-1, Sunday afternoon at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

The Astros broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run fourth inning off Nats starter Gio Gonzalez, who had given up just two runs in five previous outings combined. But on Sunday, the left-hander was stretched to 91 pitches (58 strikes) and allowed five runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out five and walked two.

Yulieski Gurriel and Josh Reddick sparked Houston’s fourth-inning rally with RBI hits before Gonzalez capped the rally with a two-run blast to left, his first home run of the spring. Marisnick belted his second Grapefruit League homer an inning earlier, a solo shot for Houston’s first hit of the game.

Astros starter Joe Musgrove went five innings yielding just one run on four hits. The right-hander struck out four and walked one. He struck out the side in the second inning after falling behind 1-0 in the first inning on a double by Nats leadoff man Trea Turner and a Bryce Harper RBI sacrifice fly two batters later. Musgrove faced one batter over the minimum after the first inning in his 79-pitch (53 strikes) outing.

Astros Up Next: Collin McHugh, who has been behind on his throwing program this spring because of “dead arm” he experienced earlier in camp, will make his Grapefruit League debut when the Astros face the Cardinals at 5:05 p.m. CT Monday at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. He’s expected to start the season on the disabled list as he continues to build up arm strength. The game can be seen on MLB.TV.

Nationals Up Next: Right-hander Max Scherzer gets the start for the Nats in a 1:05 p.m. ET Monday game with a Mets split-squad team in Port St. Lucie. The Mets will counter with right-hander Seth Lugo, who was the starting pitcher for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic championship game against the United States.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to and covered the Nationals on Sunday.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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