It was an offensive slugfest in Port St. Lucie on Thursday afternoon as the Washington Nationals lost to the New York Mets, 11-9. The difference in this game came in a nine run eighth inning by the Mets with all the runs given up by Nationals relievers Mitch Lively and Eric Fornataro. Even in the loss, Michael Taylor continues to show why Washington wants to give him playing time due to the Denard Span injury.
The Mets would score first when Curtis Granderson hit his first home run of the spring, a solo shot off of A.J. Cole to give New York a 1-0 lead. Matt Williams gave A.J. Cole the start today instead of Stephen Strasburg, who was out due to an ingrown toenail. Cole went 1.2 innings, gave up one run on four hits and walked two.
Washington would take the lead in the top of the third inning when Michael Taylor hit a two-run double to center field that scored Nate McLouth and Danny Espinosa to give the Nats the lead against Jacob deGrom. Taylor would end up being thrown out at third on the play. The only trouble deGrom had was in the third inning. He gave up two runs on three hits over three innings, struck out five, and walked one.
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Evan Meek would follow Cole in the bottom of the third, but gave up a run of his own when Michael Cuddyer hit a solo shot to left center field to tie the game at two. It was Cuddyer’s first home run of the spring.
After the Nats took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth on a Tony Gwynn Jr. RBI groundout, Danny Espinosa would come to bat in the top of the sixth and lead off the inning with a home run to left field off Steven Matz. Espinosa’s first homer of the spring put Washington up by two.
The Nationals had a 4-2 lead until the bottom of the eighth inning when Lively and Fornataro combined to give up the crooked inning. The Mets would send 13 batters to the plate in that inning, which included a two-run homer by Alex Castellanos and a two-run double by Brandon Allen. Lively was charged with three of the runs in 1/3 of an inning while Fornataro gave up six runs on four hits in 1/3 of an inning. Brian Rauh had to come in to get the final out.
Even down 11-4, Washington did not throw in the towel. With the bases loaded and no out, Cutter Dykstra drew a walk to drive in a run. Then, Clint Robinson hit a grand slam off of Dario Alvarez to cut the lead to 11-9. Sandy Leon would follow that up with a single, but the next three Nats behind him could not bring him home.
In the loss, Nate McLouth went 1-for-3 at the plate and hit leadoff today, giving him two hits in as many games. Plus, Tyler Moore continued his red hot spring as he went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.