KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Marwin Gonzalez crushed his team-leading fourth home run of the Grapefruit League season, but two-run doubles by Daniel Murphy and Clint Robinson backed a strong Gio Gonzalez, helping the Nationals top the Astros, 6-4, on Tuesday at Osceola County Stadium.
Murphy's double came as part of a three-run third inning off Houston right-hander Collin McHugh. In all, McHugh surrendered three runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings but struck out five, issuing a pair of walks.
"You want to have faced everything when you get to your first start of the [season]," McHugh said. "You want to have faced a little bit of adversity, you want to make pitches with guys on base in tough situations, you need to be able to have gotten a strikeout at some point when you needed one. Today, we were able to do all three of those things."
After Marwin Gonzalez's homer, the Astros loaded the bases but couldn't cash in against Gio Gonzalez, who escaped without further damage when Jason Castro lined into a double play to end the fourth.
Astros outfielder George Springer was hit on the left elbow by a Burke Badenhop pitch in the fifth inning, and although he was removed for a pinch-runner, Springer is expected to play on Wednesday.
Up next for the Nationals: The Nats will travel to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., to take on the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday in a game airing on Gameday Audio. It will mark the third meeting for the two teams this spring; each club has won once. Starting for the Nationals will be right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who is battling with right-handers Tanner Roark and Joe Ross for one of the final two spots in the rotation. In his last start, Arroyo was solid against the Astros, working three scoreless innings and striking out three. Ryan Zimmerman will make his spring debut at first base, and reliever Blake Treinen is scheduled to return from a finger injury.
Up next for the Astros: Righty Brad Peacock will make his second Grapefruit League start on Wednesday when the Astros host the Tigers at Osceola County Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT in a game airing on MLB.TV. Luke Gregerson, who has been hindered by soreness in his left oblique, is scheduled to make his spring debut and throw one inning. Detroit will start right-hander Jordan Zimmermann.
Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.