After playing so poorly for so long, as though neither team wanted to win, neither the Washington Nationals nor Houston Astros did win Tuesday, because their game was suspended by rain with the score tied at 10 in the 11th inning.
It wasn't immediately announced when the game would resume.
Both clubs were slated to travel Tuesday night. Houston is home against the Cubs on Wednesday, when Washington is at the Dodgers.
The Nationals and Astros are scheduled to play each other again July 9-12 in Houston. The Astros aren't supposed to return to Washington this season.
The game was halted with LaTroy Hawkins _ Houston's fifth pitcher _ about to face Josh Willingham with one runner on first and one out in the bottom of the 11th. After a wait of about 75 minutes _ and with heavy rain still falling _ the game was suspended.
All in all, these looked like the two last-place teams they are, botching basics over and over.
First, Houston led 5-2, thanks in part to Washington catcher Wil Nieves' way-off-the-mark throw on a sacrifice bunt in the fifth. Then the Nationals went up 8-5, sending 12 men to the plate in the sixth, when they scored six runs with the benefit of only _ get this! _ two hits. They had plenty of help: five walks, a hit batter and an error.
The trouble started for Houston when ace Roy Oswalt left because of a bone bruise on his right index finger in the sixth.
Chris Sampson promptly gave up Ryan Zimmerman's RBI single, which made it 5-3.
Then things really went haywire for the reliever. Two walks forced in a run, and Sampson covered his face with his glove to hide whatever he was yelling at himself as pitching coach Dewey Robinson came out for a chat. Didn't help a thing: A four-pitch walk made it 5-all.
After a strikeout, Sampson was back at it, walking in another run to give Washington a 6-5 lead. Tim Byrdak entered and threw the ball over the plate, getting a grounder to short _ a simple play that should have ended the inning. But Miguel Tejada bobbled the ball and by the time he threw, it was too late, an error making it 7-5. When Byrdak hit Nick Johnson, it was 8-5.
It was similar to a night earlier, when Astros relievers walked in two runs as part of a three-inning, seven-run bullpen outing that led directly to Washington's 9-4 victory. This time, though, the Nationals gave it right back.
Houston tied it at 8 with a three-run seventh, which included an error by shortstop Cristian Guzman, who dropped a throw on what should have been a groundout. In the eighth, Garrett Mock walked Darin Erstad, who scored on a wild pitch to put Houston ahead 9-8.
Guzman's first homer of 2009, a two-run shot off Geoff Geary in the eighth, gave Washington a 10-9 edge. The Astros tied it in the ninth on Geoff Blum's sacrifice fly off Kip Wells.
Notes:@ Nationals starter Scott Olsen gave up five runs in five innings. ... Oswalt allowed four runs and hasn't won this season. ... Astros RHP Russ Ortiz is scheduled to start Thursday against the Cubs. ... Houston 2B Kaz Matsui was given a day off. ... Washington plans to bring LHP Joe Beimel (hip) off the DL before Wednesday's game. For now, Beimel will be part of Washington's "closer-by-committee," but he'll get a chance to earn the closer's job outright, manager Manny Acta said.