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06/02/10 2:24 AM ET

Rodriguez, Lannan to battle for series edge

In the heart of the National League East race, the Nationals can't afford to lose pace, and they'll get a boost from phenom Stephen Strasburg starting next week.

With that in mind, the Nationals will look to take care of business against the Astros on Wednesday in Game 3 of the four-game set.

The Astros aren't going to lay down, though. Houston battled back Tuesday after losing their lead in the ninth inning, winning in walk-off fashion to tie the series.

Wednesday's game will feature two pitchers who are seemingly going in different directions. Veteran John Lannan appears to have corrected his course after a rocky start, allowing just four runs over his past 18 1/3 innings.

"I felt pretty good there," Lannan said Friday after allowing one run to the Padres over seven innings. "The sinker was working. It's the best it has been all year. You are just building off your start. That's the key. I'm progressing and getting to where I want to be. It's definitely a step in the right direction."

The Astros will counter with Wandy Rodriguez, who has been up and down this season, but lately more down than up. Rodriguez has been very tough at times this season, but has dropped his past three starts. In his previous outing, against the Reds, Rodriguez allowed eight runs over just 3 1/3 innings.

"I don't have my curve right now [at] 100 percent," Rodriguez said. "I don't know what happened with my breaking [ball]."

Rodriguez didn't have many answers after his last start, but he knows there's plenty of room for improvement.

"I think I need to work more," Rodriguez said. "Work more on my location, work more on my breaking ball, because I don't have a good one right now."

Nationals: Morgan slides to No. 2 spot
Manager Jim Riggleman kept Cristian Guzman in the leadoff spot Tuesday and batted Nyjer Morgan second for the second consecutive game. It worked out well on Monday, as the pair combined for six hits. In Tuesday's loss, they totaled three hits and three runs scored.

"We're trying to get Nyjer more relaxed," Riggleman said. "We'll keep him there for a little while and see how quickly we can get him back into the leadoff spot. ... I think he'll be more comfortable there [batting No. 2] and get his game back to where he wants it. It's crucial that he's playing good baseball for us."

Astros: Berkman trying to put it together
Lance Berkman hit just .221 in May, but kicked off June on a very positive note with a two-run double on Tuesday. He finished the night 3-for-5 with three RBIs, including the game-winning, two-run walk-off single. Berkman thinks his start this season is almost a mirror image of 2005 when he missed all of Spring Training and the first month of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

"I put two good months together in August and September, but the first three were pretty bad," Berkman said of his 2005 campaign.

Worth noting
The Astros got another quality start out of Brett Myers on Tuesday, as he went seven innings, allowing just one earned run while striking out 10. He's gone at least six innings in every start this season. ... Eleven of the Astros' 18 wins (.588 percentage) now come are of the comeback variety, good for highest percentage in the Majors. .. Nationals' closer Matt Capps blew just his second save of the season on Tuesday, making him 17 for 19 in save situations.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.