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Feb 28, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos (40) hits a double against the New York Mets in spring training action at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Nats Beat Mets 5-4 in Grapefruit League Opener

After overcoming a three-run deficit, the Washington Nationals defeated the New York Mets 5-4 Friday afternoon, thanks to a ninth inning triple by outfielder Michael Taylor.

Taylor Jordan got the start for the Nationals, pitching two scoreless innings before the bullpen took over. Jordan gave up a leadoff single to Chris Young in the bottom of the first, but not much else. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out two and walked none during his two innings of work, throwing 16 of his 21 pitches for strikes. He only pitched two innings, but it was a good start for Jordan–who is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.

A.J. Cole took over in the bottom of the third inning, throwing two scoreless innings as well. After giving up a leadoff double to Travis d’Arnaud in the third inning, the Nationals’ prospect retired the next three batters and got out of the inning unscathed. Cole gave up three hits while striking out two and the game remained scoreless heading into the top of the fifth inning.

The Nationals took the lead in the fifth on a double by Wilson Ramos that scored Ian Desmond, but the Mets took it right back in the bottom of the inning against Christian Garcia.

Garcia, who is competing for a spot on the Nationals bullpen, struggled in his spring debut. The hard-throwing right-hander allowed back-to-back singles to Juan Lagares and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, before Cesar Puello drove in both runners with a two-out double to left. Garcia then threw a hanging-curve to Ike Davis who quickly deposited it over the right field wall for a two-run homer, giving the Mets a 4-1 lead.

The Nationals began to chip away late in the game, with Koyie Hill driving in Zach Walters with an RBI double in the seventh. Hill would then score on a single by Steven Souza. Washington tied the game in the top of the eight inning on an RBI double by Zach Walters, before Taylor’s ninth inning triple gave the Nationals the lead for good.

While Friday’s game was just a meaningless exhibition game (one of the 31  the team will play this spring), the Nationals looked good, and new manager Matt Williams was certainly pleased with the way his team performed in his first competitive game as a manager.

The Nationals will return to Viera for their Grapefruit League home opener on Saturday, with Jordan Zimmermann taking the mound against the Atlanta Braves. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m..

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