March 13, 2013; Viera, FL, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34) at bat against the New York Mets during the spring training game at Space Coast Stadium. The Nationals beat the Mets 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Nationals played two spring training games on Wednesday. The regulars played against the Mets at Space Coast Stadium, while a team consisting of Nats unlikely to make the team out of spring training played the Astros. Both Nats squads won their respective games.
Nationals vs. Mets: Nationals 8, Mets 5
The home game for the split squads, featuring the Nats regulars, was against the Mets. The Nationals jumped out to an early lead against Mets starter Matt Harvey in the first inning, courtesy of a leadoff walk to Denard Span, Jayson Werth reaching on an error and Bryce Harper’s smashing a home run. Three batters, three runs. Things were looking good for the Nats. Harvey then settled into a groove and did not give up another run in his four innings of work. He struck out six over those four innings.
Jordan Zimmermann bounced back from his awful dead arm start in his last outing, pitching four and 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run and striking out six. The Mets scored two runs in the first inning, both unearned, because of an error by Adam LaRoche. Zimmermann was cruising in the fifth inning until, with two outs and one on, he threw what appeared to be strike three to batter Ike Davis to end the inning. Zimmermann left the mound and the outfielders started running in. However, the umpire called the pitch a ball, and Zimmerman ended up walking Davis. Zimmermann was replaced by Craig Stammen, who allowed a RBI single to Marlon Byrd which tied the score 3-3.
In the seventh inning, Drew Storen gave up a home run to Mets center fielder Collin Cowgill which put the Mets ahead. But Storen vultured the win for the game, as the Nats batters jumped all over reliever Bobby Parnell in the bottom of the seventh, scoring four runs and taking the lead for good.
Ryan Zimmerman served as DH and went 2-4 with an RBI. Tyler Moore went 1-1, smacking an RBI double. Harper was 2-4 with four RBI’s. Danny Espinosa also had a good day at the plate, going 2-4. Espinosa is hitting .333 so far during spring training.
Nationals v. Astros: Nationals 9, Astros 7
The other game played by the Nationals today featured lots of hits by both teams, with the Astros piling up 12 hits off the Nats pitchers, and the Nationals hitters returning the favor by garnering 17 hits against Astros pitchers.
Nationals starter Ross Ohlendorf gave up four runs in the first inning. Justin Maxwell hit an RBI triple in the first inning to spark the Astros scoring. Ohlendorf settled down after the first inning, and worked two more innings without giving up any further runs. Houston started Jordan Lyles, who pitched three innings and gave up three runs. Ryan Perry pitched two innings in relief of Ohlendorf and gave up one run on two hits, while walking none.
The Nats were behind in the game until the 8th, when they scored three runs off reliever Dallas Keuchel to take a 7-5 lead on Anthony Rendon’s two run homer. The Astros scored a run in the bottom of the eighth when Patrick McCoy was on the mound, which reduced the Nats advantage to one run. The Nats scored two runs in the top of the ninth to seal the win.
The Nationals play their next spring training game on Thursday, March 14, 2013 against the Houston Astros at Space Coast Stadium at 1:05 p.m.