Mar 11, 2015; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington NationalsDan Uggla
hits a line drive against the Detroit Tigers at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Today, the Washington Nationals were able to get the split of their second split squad Saturday of the spring. Down in Viera, the A squad led by starter Jordan Zimmermann took on the Miami Marlins and won their game, 4-2. In this game. there was some bad blood brewing between Zimmermann and Miami starter Henderson Alvarez. Plus, a former Marlin continued to bolster his case to make the Nats Opening Day Roster.
As for the B squad, they took on the Atlanta Braves down in Orlando. Michael Taylor got the start in center field with Taylor Jordan taking the mound. The Braves were able to win that game by a final of 5-2, Taylor still went 2-for-3 out of the leadoff spot. Before we break down the game in Orlando, let’s first talk about the game in Viera.
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The Marlins got the scoring started right out of the gate. After Dee Gordon led off the first inning with a triple to center field. Adeiny Hechavarria would drive him in on an infield single that hit the glove of Zimmermann to give Miami the early lead. That would be the only run Zimmermann would give up on the afternoon. In his fourth start of the spring, Zimmermann went five innings, gave up one run on eight hits, struck out four and walked none.
However, as I mentioned before, Zimmermann and Alvarez got into a heated exchange. In the bottom of the second inning, Alvarez hit Zimmerman in the back with two on and two out. Three innings later, Zimmerman would brush Alvarez back with a pitch. The Marlins pitcher ended that at-bat with a sacrifice bunt, but that wasn’t the end:
"J.Zimmermann on his exchange w/Alvarez:”I said ‘Can I help you?’ he didn’t say anything so I said ‘Get back to the dugout where you belong’”"
— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) March 21, 2015
As for Washington’s offense, their one big inning against Alvarez came in the bottom of the third. With Ian Desmond on third and Bryce Harper on second with one out, Wilson Ramos would drive in both runners on a single to center field to give Washington the lead.
Then, Dan Uggla stepped to the plate and hit a two-run homer, his second of the spring, to extend the lead to 4-1. It was Uggla’s second home run in the last five games and he has now recorded at least one hit in his last six games, including a 2-for-3 day today.
After Zimmermann left the game, Washington’s bullpen kept the Marlins off the board for the next three innings with a combination of Craig Stammen, Rich Hill, and Aaron Barrett. The trio gave up a combined one hit and struck out three.
Miami did try to rally in the top of the ninth against reliever Rafael Martin. With two outs, Danny Black would double to right field to score Tyler Colvin and cut the lead in half. However, Martin would strike out Jordany Valdespin to end the ball game.
Another plus on the offensive side was Tony Gwynn Jr. The center fielder went 1-for-4 with a single in the seventh inning to increase his spring average to .364.
Next: Taylor's Two Hits Not Enough vs. Atlanta