Mar 8, 2013; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Micah Owings celebrates with Ian Desmond (20) after hitting a solo homerun to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning of a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Spring Training Game 19: Houston Astros 3, Washington Nationals 6

The Washington Nationals propensity for pitchers converted to outfielders paid off for another preseason victory. Even though the Nats trotted out their A-team, it was Micah Owings’ grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning that  improved the Nationals spring training record to 9-8.

Chris Young settled down after giving up a leadoff home run to Marwin Gonzalez and pitched 3 scoreless innings. His stat line for the afternoon was 4 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts.

Jayson Werth answered with a solo shot in the bottom of the first and Steve Lombardozzi’s RBI single in the second put the Nationals up 2-1.

The game quieted down from the third through the sixth as both teams struggled to drive runners home.

The exhibition livened up in the seventh inning. Rafael Soriano surrendered a two run homer to Nate Freiman, but recovered to retire the following three batters in succession.

The Nats quickly bounced back in the bottom half of the inning. Lombardozzi and Corey Brown led off the inning with singles and Tyler Moore reached on a fielder’s choice. That brought up Micah Owings who drove them all home on a grand slam to right field.

Scoreless innings from Henry Rodriguez and Tyler Clippard secured the Nationals exhibition victory and, more importantly,  move the calendar one day closer to opening day.

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