On Sunday afternoon, the Washington Nationals lost their first game this spring to the New York Yankees by a final score of 3-2 at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Even in defeat, there were a lot of bright spots for the Nats to take from this game. For one, Michael Taylor got his first start of the Spring in center field and got the game started as well as you could.
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On the first pitch of the game, Taylor hit a solo home run to left field off Yankees’ starter Adam Warren to give Washington a 1-0 lead. Taylor went 2-for-3 on the afternoon, which included a single to center field in the third inning.
Tyler Moore, who got the start today in left field, continued his red hot Spring Training. The left fielder went 2-for-3 with a pair of a doubles, one to right field against Warren in the first and another to left center in the sixth against Luis Severino.
Doug Fister got his first start of the spring and did a very good job. Out of 19 pitches, 11 of them went for strikes. He went two innings, walked a batter, and gave up one hit. That lone hit came via a double off the bat of Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the second inning. Other than that, Fister was true to form, inducing four ground ball outs out of the seven batters he faced.
The Yankees would tie the score against Nats’ reliever Sammy Solis in the bottom of the third inning. After Jose Pirela doubled to right field to lead off the inning, Brett Gardner would drive him in with two outs on an infield single to tie the game. New York would add one more run in the bottom of the fourth on another infield single, this time by Pirela to give the Bronx Bombers the lead.
In the top of the seventh inning, Washington was able to find a way to tie the score back up. After a Tony Gwynn Jr. walk and a single by Wilmer Difo (reached second on an error), Derrick Robinson hit a RBI groundout to pitcher James Pazos to tie the game at two.
However, in the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees would take the lead for good. Pitcher Mitch Lively got the first two outs of the inning, but would give up three straight singles to Kyle Roller, Aaron Judge, and eventually the game-winning RBI single to right field by Cole Figueroa. Lively would still strike out two Yankees in the loss.
In the middle innings, relievers Blake Treinen and Xavier Cedeno threw 2.1 innings of combined one-hit ball with three strikeouts. Aaron Barrett appeared in the bottom of the seventh inning and gave up one hit while striking out one.
Defensively, Washington made two errors in this game. One was by starting third baseman Kevin Frandsen on a wild throw in the third, which set up New York’s first run. The other error came in the sixth inning by Matt Skole, who failed to make the catch on a throw to first by Ian Stewart.
The Nationals will be back in Viera tomorrow afternoon for a game against the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 PM ET on MASN. Gio Gonzalez will make his first start of the spring for the Nats against Wandy Rodriguez for Atlanta.