HOUSTON – The Houston Astros were trying to stay upbeat after their latest extra-inning loss dropped them to 0-11 in such games this season.
The young team hopes the experience of playing in games like this will help them in the future.
Danny Espinosa hit a two-run homer early, and his RBI single in the 12th inning lifted the Washington Nationals to a 3-2 win over the Astros on Tuesday night.
"We have to just build off these games," Houston's Brett Wallace said. "We're not winning them, but there is a lot to learn. ... We just have keeping building off of that, and eventually those balls will fall."
Michael Morse was 0 for 4 when he doubled to start the 12th inning and extend his career-high hitting streak to 16 games. He was replaced by pinch-runner Cesar Izturis, who was making his first appearance for Washington after being claimed off waivers from Milwaukee on Monday.
Roger Bernadina advanced Izturis to third with a sacrifice bunt. Espinosa's sharp grounder off Mickey Storey (0-1) skipped past the pitcher for a hit that brought Izturis home and gave the Nationals their second straight extra-inning win over Houston.
Washington beat the Astros 5-4 in 11 innings on Monday.
For the Astros, owners of baseball's worst record, it was another difficult game in a season full of them.
"I stayed on the field with the guys to tell them how much I appreciate all that they have gone through the last couple of nights," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "It's been tough."
Houston's Steve Pearce singled off Tyler Clippard in the 12th before Carlos Corporan drew a two-out walk. Bernadina, the center fielder, crashed into the wall while making a diving catch on a ball hit by Wallace to secure the win.
"I put the ball in the gap, and I thought I might split it, but he made a great play," Wallace said. "He is a good center fielder, and that is what they do. It's unfortunate, but we just have to keep going."
Washington pinch-hitter Chad Tracy doubled with two outs in the 10th for the only hit by either team in the first two extra innings.
Drew Storen (1-0) retired the last two hitters in the 11th for the win, and Clippard earned his 23rd save.
Pearce drew a two-out walk in the ninth before Ryan Mattheus intentionally walked pinch-hitter Scott Moore, but pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic grounded out to send the game to the 10th.
Ben Francisco gave Houston an early lead with a two-run homer off Ross Detwiler to the Crawford Boxes in left field in the first inning. The lead was short-lived as Espinosa tied it at 2-all with his two-run shot to right field off Jordan Lyles in the second.
Both pitchers quickly got back on track.
Detwiler set down the next 10 Astros he faced, with Houston's next hit not coming until back-to-back singles by Pearce and Matt Downs with two outs in the fourth inning.
Detwiler retired Brandon Barnes, who was making his major league debut on Tuesday, and allowed just one baserunner — a walk in the sixth — after that. He was replaced by Michael Gonzalez for the eighth inning.
Detwiler allowed three hits and two runs with two strikeouts in seven innings.
Jose Altuve got Houston's first hit since the fourth inning with a two-out single in the eighth. He stole second base, but the Astros came away empty when Michael Gonzalez retired Marwin Gonzalez.
Lyles was equally effective, retiring the next nine batters he faced after the homer. Jesus Flores broke the streak with a double with two outs in the fifth.
Lyles walked a batter in the sixth and seventh innings, but didn't give up another hit until he was chased by a single by pinch-hitter Jayson Werth to start the eighth.
Wesley Wright replaced Lyles and struck out two, before Fernando Rodriguez threw 1 1-3 perfect innings.
Lyles yielded three hits and two runs with six strikeouts in seven-plus innings.
Washington manager Davey Johnson believes the Astros have reason to be optimistic after seeing Lyles pitch a night after rookie Dallas Keuchel faced his team.
"They're having a rough year, but they've got some good, young players," Johnson said. "I like those last two pitchers I've seen, so the future is probably pretty good over there. They held down a pretty good hitting club. They're wearing me out."
NOTES: Werth, who left Monday night's game with sore legs, was held out of the lineup on Tuesday, but he pinch-hit in the eighth inning. Werth was reinstated last Thursday after missing almost three months with a broken left wrist. ... Houston placed CF Jordan Schafer on the 15-day disabled list with an injured left shoulder on Tuesday. The Astros aren't sure how long the injury will keep him out. "I really have no timetable," Schafer said. "Whenever I feel healthy, whenever I get better, then I'll get back in there." Houston purchased the contract of Barnes to take Schafer's spot on the roster.