March 13, 2013; Viera, FL, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg (right) in the dugout during the spring training game against the New York Mets at Space Coast Stadium. The Nationals beat the Mets 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Nats Pound Diamondbacks 8-4


Stephen Strasburg made his last start of the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. Strasburg had an up and down outing, but ended up pitching seven innings and getting the win.

Jeff Kobernus got the start in left field, Bryce Harper played center and Tyler Moore got the start at first base. The Diamondbacks started Patrick Corbin, a left hander, so Denard Span and Adam LaRoche took a seat for the night.

The Diamondbacks scored first in this one thanks to Strasburg’s lack of control in the third inning. After pitching two scoreless innings where he looked great, suddenly in the third inning he ran into trouble. He walked the lead off batter, eight hole hitter Didi Gregorius. Next he hit Corbin who was tying to bunt and then gave up a single to Adam Eaton. The bases were loaded with no one out. Gerrardo Parra singled to score the D’backs first run. Arizona scored a second run on a double play ball hit by Paul Goldschmidt, where the Nats exchanged a run for two outs. Strasburg then walked Martin Prado, but finally got Aaron Hill to pop up to end the inning.

The Nats scored a run in the top of the fourth, but could have gotten more. Jayson Werth drew a lead off walk, and Harper hit a double to deep center field, scoring Werth. Ian Desmond struck out on a breaking ball that was not held by catcher Miguel Montero. As Ian was running to first, Harper tried to steal third and was thrown out. The Nats had exchanged a runner in scoring position for a runner at first. Then Desmond was then thrown out trying to steal second. The Nats went from a runner in scoring position and no outs to nobody on and two outs. They did not score again in the inning.

Tyler Moore and Anthony Rendon teamed up in the top of the fifth on back to back doubles, which tied the score. Strasburg struck out, but Kobernus drew a walk. Ryan Zimmerman flew out to deep center, moving Rendon to third. Jayson Werth put the Nats ahead with a great at bat, fouling off pitches and working on Corbin, who was laboring by this point. Werth broke his bat and had to go get a new one. That bat turned out to be a winner, because on the next pitch Werth homered to deep center. The Nats now had the lead 5-2. Corbin’s night was done at the end of the inning.

Strasburg settled down after he got a lead, and went three more innings to go seven complete. He did not allow a base runner in the sixth or seventh innings.

Denard Span came in to hit in the top of the seventh inning, and then stayed in to play center field, moving Harper to left and giving Kobernus the rest of the night off. Kobernus had a good game, going one for two and drawing a walk.

The Nats really broke the game open in the top of the eighth, thanks to a three run homer belted by Wilson Ramos off reliever Chaz Roe, with Harper and Desmond aboard. Now the Nats led 8-2.

Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth for the Nats. In the top of the ninth, Rendon was hit in the wrist by reliever Matt Langwell. We are all hoping he suffers no long term ill effects from that hit. Pinch hitter Chad Tracy singled. Span and Zimmerman made outs. Pinch hitter Corey Brown drew a walk to load the bases. Harper swung at the first pitch he saw, which was not a good decision considering Brown’s at bat just in front of him. Bryce hit a dribbler into the infield and ended the Nats threat to tack on.

Fernando Abad pitched two thirds of the the bottom of the ninth, allowing two runs on three hits. Abad had not pitched for quite some time, and it showed. Davey made the call to the pen and asked Xavier Cedeno to come in and close it out. He got Adam Eaton to hit a comebacker right to him, preserving the Nats win and Strasburg’s victory.

Next Game: Saturday September 27, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Dan Haren (9-14, 4.87 ERA) takes the mound for the Nats, while Brandon McCarthy (5-10, 4.64 ERA) goes for the Diamondbacks. Since McCarthy is a right hander, expect to see a left handed heavy lineup for Johnson. Span and LaRoche are probably starting, and it would be no surprise to see switch hitter Steve Lombardozzi getting the start at second, especially after Rendon took that pitch off his wrist..

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