The Washington Nationals continued their slog through their Grapefruit League schedule on Thursday, beating the Houston Astros 6-3 at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL.
The Nats were paced by a seventh inning grand slam off the bat of 1B/OF Micah Owings. Owings is garnering his fair share of attention at spring training, trying to convert from pitcher to hitter, and showing himself well so far. Owings is 7-for-19 (.333/.333/.667) this spring with three doubles, two home runs and 8 RBIs.
Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman (two doubles), Wilson Ramos and Steve Lombardozzi all had two hits apiece.
With Ross Detwiler away at the World Baseball Classic, Chris Young got the start for the Nats. The 6’10″ righty went four innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and two walks, striking out three. He was in-and-out of trouble most of the time, but managed to limit Houston’s chances. Zach Duke continued his stellar spring, retiring six of the seven batters he faced, walking one and striking out three in two innings.
New closer Rafael Soriano was victimized by the still breeze blowing out, allowing a wind-aided two-run home run to Astros minor leaguer Nate Freiman in the seventh inning, his only frame of work. He struck out two in his appearance though. Henry Rodriguez followed, and gave up a one-out walk and stolen base, but recovered with a strikeout and groundout to end his inning of work scoreless.
Tyler Clippard pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth inning to save the spring training win.
The Nationals will face the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 Friday at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL. Dan Haren is scheduled to face Adam Wainright for the Cards.