Those who made the trek to the Washington Nationals’ Space Coast Stadium to witness powerhouse hitting were undoubtedly disappointed as the Nats fell 5-1 to the Miami Marlins.
That said, this is Grapefruit League ball, and both teams’ rosters were comprised of a motley crew of players by midway through the game.
Dan Haren tossed 24 of 35 pitches for strikes over two innings. He allowed one earned run, but struck out three of the last four hitters he faced in his spring debut with the Nats.
Christian Yelich led off with a triple against Haren and Donovan Solano flied to Bryce Harper in left, allowing Yelich to score. During the next at-bat, Joe Mahoney reached first base on Haren’s fielding error, but the newbie to the Nationals’ rotation settled in from there to get Alfredo Silverio and Chris Coghlan.
The Nats struggled to connect against the Marlins’ pitching staff, however imaginative the day’s roster may have been. Miami right-hander Nathan Eovaldi earned the win by pitching two scoreless innings in which he allowed no hits, one walk and struck out three.
Aside from Steve Lombardozzi’s single in the third against right-hander Tom Koehler, the Nats failed to tally a hit until Danny Espinosa followed an eighth-inning walk by Matt Skole with a bloop single. With runners at first and second and no outs, Triple-A Syracuse catcher Carlos Maldonado drew a walk to load the bases. Second baseman Will Rhymes missed the opportunity by popping out, but shortstop prospect Carlos Rivero put more heat behind the ball with a sacrifice fly to right, allowing Skole to head home for the Nats’ first and only run.
Craig Stammen’s outing served as one of Washington’s highlights for the day. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings, struck out three and allowed only one walk.
Unfortunately, the Marlins had a bit of a field day against Syracuse right-hander Tanner Roark. Roark gave up Miami’s additional four runs over four hits and allowed two walks. He struck out two batters, but enough damage was done in his 1.1 innings pitched.
Erik Davis came to his relief and allowed only one hit, and Drew Storen pitched a perfect ninth to overcome his blown save earlier this spring, but the Nats’ late-innings roster fell short of producing a rally. Tyler Moore doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but Corey Brown flied to left and Chris Marrero grounded back to the mound, advancing Moore to third. Skole provided hope with a walk, but Danny Espinosa stranded the runners at the corners with a fly ball to center to end the game.
The Nationals are now 1-3 in Grapefruit League play as they get set to face the New York Mets once again tomorrow at 6:05 p.m.