Bryce Harper and Kila Ka’aihue homered and Max Scherzer allowed one run in five innings and the Washington Nationals knocked off the Houston Astros 7-5 in Kissimmee, Florida.
Scherzer gave up three hits in five innings, walked none and struck out six. The only run he allowed came on a solo home run by Astros catcher Jason Castro in the fourth inning.
The Nats exploded for four runs in the top of the first against starter Samuel Deduno. Danny Espinosa doubled to right to plate Tony Gwynn Jr. Tyler Moore brought Espinosa home with a single to left. After Deduno loaded the bases, he walked Jose Lobaton to force in a run, and Kevin Frandsen’s sacrifice fly made it 4-0 before most fans were in their seats.
Harper’s long homer came in the fourth off Jake Buchanan and Ka’aihue’s third spring homer was in the seventh off Asher Wojciechowski.
Ka’aihue added an RBI double in the ninth off Kevin Chapman.
- Jerry Blevins was perfect in one inning of relief with a strikeout. Manny Delcarmen pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just one walk with a strikeout.
- Xavier Cedeno was not as fortunate. The lefty gave up two runs on two hits, including a homer by Luis Valbuena, in one inning. Heath Bell allowed two runs on two hits and a walk without retiring a batter.
- Sandy Leon was 2 for 2 in relief of Lobaton.
- Tyler Moore was 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI.
- Before the game, manager Matt Williams indicated doubt that OF Nate McLouth (shoulder) would be ready for opening day. “Right now, it’s probably in jeopardy because we haven’t been able to get him out there for a number of at-bats and get through a full spring, keeping in mind that he’s coming off of a pretty serious surgery,” said Williams.