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Nats-Astros Game Suspended Because of Rain; Will Be Continued July 9

Ryan Zimmerman extends his hitting streak to 23 games.
Ryan Zimmerman extends his hitting streak to 23 games. "That's one more than 22," the Nats' third baseman said. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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After Erstad advanced to third, Mock threw a wild pitch to Lance Berkman. Erstad scored to tie the game at 8.

Houston's bullpen was equally deficient at holding steady. Curt Sampson spelled starter Roy Oswalt in the sixth inning after Oswalt left the game with a bone bruise in his right index finger. Sampson walked three straight batters, which brought home two Washington runs. By the end of the sixth, the Nationals had tallied six runs on just two hits.

"Today was the battle of two struggling bullpens, and I think we could have helped ourselves a little bit if we would have played better defense," Nationals Manager Manny Acta said. "But our guys battled out there and we put up a couple runs. We just couldn't come out on top."

In the fifth inning, it was the Nationals who could not get out of their own way. Oswalt put down a sacrifice bunt, but rather than record the easy play at first, catcher Wil Nieves tried to nab the runner at second. His throw was wide right. Four Houston runs later, Washington found itself stuck in an avoidable hole.

"I think a couple plays that we didn't make cost us six runs total," Acta said. "When your pitching is struggling, you have to catch the ball. You just can't give away outs. That's been a bit of a problem here."

At this point, the Nationals' struggles are slightly alleviated by the promise of its offense, one led by Zimmerman and his hitting streak.

Back in the Nationals' clubhouse, there was room for optimism after all the confusion died down on another drizzly day.

"So we just pick it up in the eleventh?" Olsen asked. "Still wearing gray?"

When informed he was correct, Olsen grinned.

"Awesome," he said. "Great."

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