KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) Max Scherzer pitched four shutout innings and Dan Uggla hit his first home run of the spring Sunday in the Washington Nationals' 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros.
''This is a chance to see where you're at,'' Scherzer said. ''I went out there with the mentality of giving them everything I'd give them during the regular season, plus I know these guys a little bit from pitching in the American League.
''I was really focused on the results today rather than just going out and working on things,'' Scherzer said.
Making his third start for the Nationals after signing a seven-year, $210 million contract in January, Scherzer gave up one hit and one walk while striking out three. The 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner with Detroit used all of his breaking pitches, some in crucial counts.
''Those are the type of things you need to be able to succeed during the year,'' he said. ''If you're facing a divisional opponent, you don't want to show them everything you've got, especially when you're facing the Mets and the Marlins and Braves down here in Florida. I don't want to let them get a free look at it when it doesn't count.''
Jose Altuve and George Springer drove in runs for Houston in a three-run fifth inning off former closer Heath Bell. Jake Marisnick also drove in a run with a triple.
Houston starter Asher Wojciechowski matched Scherzer for four shutout innings, striking out four while giving up three hits. The 26-year-old right-hander has yet to pitch in the majors, but might have an opportunity this spring with at least one spot available.
''He pitched up in the zone, used all his pitches, got out of a jam,'' noted Astros manager A.J. Hinch. ''There pretty much wasn't anything he didn't do from a pitching standpoint.''
Wojciechowski replaced Brett Oberholtzer as Sunday's starter when the left-hander reported some lat soreness. Currently Houston's No. 4 starter, Oberholtzer will be reevaluated later this week.
Pat Neshek got the win despite giving up Uggla's home run.
Nationals: 2B Yunel Escobar is still not swinging a bat after missing more than a week with a strained oblique. ''There's pressure there because he wants to play and it's a new position for him, and he's missed a lot of the spring so far,'' said manager Matt Williams.
Astros: Evan Gattis was a late scratch because of a sore wrist. Gattis will not play Monday.
Astros: Wojciechowski had not given up a run in nine spring innings. Sunday was his first start. ... Veteran RHP Roberto Hernandez will get his first start Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Nationals: Jordan Zimmermann will make his third spring start against the Astros at Vierra.
Astros: In split-squad games, rookie Mark Appel will face the Nationals and Dallas Keuchel will pitch against the Atlanta Braves.