Wojciechowski matches Scherzer in Astros' win

Rotation candidate holds Nationals scoreless over four innings

Wojciechowski matches Scherzer in Astros' win

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Nationals ace Max Scherzer threw four scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out three batters, in his third and longest start of the spring on Sunday afternoon against the Astros at Osceola County Stadium. Houston won the game, 3-2.

Scherzer was matched by Astros starter Asher Wojciechowski, a rookie competing for a spot in the starting rotation who also threw four scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out four batters. Wojciechowski has nine scoreless innings this spring.

"It was just great to be out there to start a game and go out there and compete and have fun," said Wojciechowski, who missed all of last spring with a lat strain. "[Catcher] Hank [Conger] called a great game and we just really executed pitches well and it was a lot of fun."

Dan Uggla gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the fifth with a solo homer off Pat Neshek, but the Astros rallied for three against Washington reliever Heath Bell in the bottom of the inning. Jake Marisnick hit an RBI triple to tie the game, and Jose Altuve followed with a double to make it 2-1. George Springer then added an RBI single.

Up next: Former No. 1 overall Draft pick Mark Appel will make his first start in Grapefruit League action on Monday when he gets the ball for the Astros' split-squad team that will travel to Viera, Fla., to face the Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT (watch on MLB.TV). Appel hasn't pitched since he threw two innings on March 5 against the Phillies after coming down with a strained right forearm a few days later. Meanwhile, left-hander Dallas Keuchel will start for the other split-squad Astros, who will take on the Braves at 12:05 p.m. CT at Osceola County Stadium (listen on Gameday Audio).

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.