Rafael Soriano made his Nationals debut and Wilson Ramos played in his first game at catcher since ACL surgery as the Nats jumped all over former teammate Brad Peacock and hammered the hapless Astros 7-1.
Starter Dan Haren looked great as the game began, retiring the first six batters he faced with nasty stuff, but allowed a run in the third inning as the Astros struck first with a Tyler Greene walk and a Jose Altuve single. In total, Haren pitched three innings, allowing two hits, a walk, and two strikeouts. He was replaced by lefty long reliever Zach Duke, who continued his great spring by allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out two en route to three scoreless innings. Duke is well on his way to being the only lefty in the Opening Day bullpen. Rafael Soriano, the new closer and $28 million man, made his debut with a shutout inning, allowing one hit, although the runner was nabbed on a steal attempt. Soriano has stated his wish to not face any NL East opponents during Spring Training, which means his action will be limited. The Nats did not allow another hit from the eighth inning on, as Tyler Clippard and non-roster invitee Jeremy Accardo combined for three strikeouts.
On the offensive side of things, Danny Espinosa was the star. He went 2-3 with one run scored and two RBI, doing most of his damage with a two-run single off Wesley Wright, kicking off what would be a five-run sixth. With Espinosa on first, Brad Peacock, who the Nats traded away in the Gio Gonzalez deal, hit Kurt Suzuki with a pitch and allowed a Chad Tracy single to give the Nats their final 7-1 advantage. Suzuki was 1-1 with a walk and two runs scored. Other Nats who did damage were Jayson Werth, who was 1-3 with an RBI, DHing Ryan Zimmerman was 1-3 with a run scored, and SS Zach Walters was 0-1 with a run scored as a pinch runner.
Next Game: Tomorrow at Philadelphia, 1:05 PM.