The Washington Nationals upped their Grapefruit League record to 3-0, using a four-run sixth inning to top the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 on Saturday in Viera.
Wilson Ramos led off the frame with a ground ball single and was replaced by pinch-runner Dan Butler. Michael Taylor followed with a line-drive single to left and Butler moved up 90 feet. After Cutter Dykstra was called out on strikes, Rafael Bautista’s line-drive single loaded the bases. Derrick Robinson struck out swinging, but Matt Skole followed with a single to center that plated Butler and Taylor, with Bautista going to third and Skole going to second on the throw.
Second base prospect Wilmer Difo then singled to right to score both Bautista and Skole.
The Nats picked up another run in the seventh when Dykstra’s triple scored Taylor, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
Stephen Strasburg started for the Nats and wasn’t particularly sharp. He went 1 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs on three hits and two walks, striking out two. No. 2 prospect A.J. Cole followed and went 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs — one earned — on two hits.
- Ryan Zimmerman joined Difo as Nats with two hits. Zimmerman was 2 for 3 but did not factor in any scoring.
- Anthony Rendon was 0 for 3 and still looking for his first hit of the spring.
- Bryce Harper was 1 for 2 before giving way to Clint Robinson.
- Jerry Blevins, Casey Janssen and Felipe Rivero all pitched scoreless innings in relief.
- Danny Espinosa, Rendon and Difo all made errors.