Mar 5, 2014; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) throws against the New York Mets in spring training action at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Offense Explodes Late As Nationals Beat Mets 11-5

The Washington Nationals improved their Grapefruit League record to 4-2 Wednesday afternoon as they beat the New York Mets 11-5 thanks to a seven-run eight inning.

Gio Gonzalez got the start for the Nationals and looked strong in his 2014 Grapefruit League debut. The 28-year-old left-hander gave up just one hit while striking out one and walking none in two scoreless innings of work.

The Nationals jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by Mike Fontenot, scoring Wilson Ramos from third base. The Nationals added to their lead the next inning on a towering home run by shortstop Ian Desmond, his second in as many days.

The Nationals weren’t able to enjoy their lead for long however, as the Mets scored three runs in the top of the fourth on RBI singles by Zach Lutz and
Anthony Seratelli against Nationals’ reliever Matt Purke, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead.

It was another rough outing for Purke, who gave up five hard hits and three earned runs in two innings of work. Purke has now allowed 7 runs, 9 hits and 3 walks in just 3 1/3 innings this spring.

The Mets would score another run in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Teagarden, stretching their lead to 4-2.  From that point on however, it was all Washington.

The Nationals would tie the game in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run homer by Brian Goodwin before putting the game out of reach for the Mets the following inning thanks to RBI singles by Tyler Moore and Will Rhymes and home runs by Sandy Leon and Matt Skole. When the Mets finally got out of the inning, the Nationals had already sent 10 men to the plate and scored seven runs.

Jayson Werth, who had been sidelined for a few days due to a right biceps strain, made his spring debut Wednesday afternoon, batting third and playing right field. Werth struck out and walked in his only two plate appearances.

The Nationals will be back at it tomorrow afternoon in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, where they will face the Atlanta Braves for the third time this spring.

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