Mar 3, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa (8) tags out New York Yankees left fielder Zoilo Almonte (65) as Almonte tries to stretch a single into a double in the fourth inning in a spring training exhibition game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Detwiler Struggles in 4 - 2 Loss to Yankees

The Washington Nationals took their first loss of the spring Monday afternoon thanks to a big second inning by the New York Yankees, who won the game by a score of 4-2.

Ross Detwiler got the start for the Nationals, pitching two innings in his 2014 Grapefruit League debut. After striking out two in a scoreless first inning, Detwiler allowed four runs, three earned, in a rough second inning for the 27-year-old lefty.

The Yankees started the inning with back-to-back singles from Brian Roberts and Francisco Cervelli, before an RBI double by Kelly Johnson gave New York a 1-0 lead. A throwing error by Nationals’ shortstop Zach Walters on an Ichiro Suzuki ground ball allowed the Yankees to score two more runs, making it a 3-0 game. The fourth run of the inning came on an RBI single by Corban Joseph.

Final line for Detwiler: 1.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.

Also making his 2014 Grapefruit League debut for the Nationals was right-hander Tanner Roark, who is also competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. Roark pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits on just 22 pitches.

While Roark definitely had a better day than Detwiler did, it was just the first game of spring training for both of them and the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation will likely last most of the spring.

Despite the final score, which is really the least important thing at this point, Sunday was still a good day for several Nationals players. Xavier Cedeno and Christian Garcia, both of whom are trying to earn a spot on a crowded Nationals’ bullpen, each pitched scoreless innings in relief.

Despite Walters’ throwing error in the second inning, Sunday was another big day for the Nationals’ 24-year-old prospect, who hit his first home run of the spring. Walters is now 6-7 with two doubles, a triple and a home run in four games this spring. While it’s unlikely for Walters to make the big league club out of spring training, he’s certainly made his presence felt over the first few games.

The Nationals scored their second and final run thanks to a fielding error by Derek Jeter in the sixth, allowing Eury Perez to score from third.

The Nationals will be back at it tomorrow afternoon against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in what will hopefully be a slightly less ridiculous game than the 31-run slugfest that the two teams played last Saturday.

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