Nationals vs Mets. Chico vs Pedro. High Leg Kick vs Control Master. Lo Duca Debuts.

The Washington Nationals travel to Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Florida to take on the New York Mets, who throw Pedro Martinez against Nationals' lefty Matt Chico.

Pedro Martinez gets Cristian Guzman to pop out to short, and then faces his former catcher Paul Lo Duca, who's making his first start as a National this Spring. Lo Duca's quickly down 0-2, but Pedro gets too much plate and Lo Duca reaches on a grounder deep in the hole at short that Jose Reyes can't come up with. 1-2 fastball high and outside and Zimmerman goes the other way to right, Lo Duca to third, Zimmerman goes for second, Ryan Church comes up throwing...and NAILS Zimmerman at second. CHURCH!!! DY's dialed-in at the plate but two offspeed strikes have Young lunging as he strikes out to end the top of the first.

Matt Chico takes the mound. Chico's sporting a few days growth on his chin and a leg kick Randy St. Claire gave him back, according to Mets' announcer Ron Darling, who recounts how the Arizona Diamondbacks had taken his leg kick away while he was in their system. Chico strikes out Reyes, and pops up Luis Castillo for the second out of the first. David Wright hits a top-spin lob to left for a two-out single. Carlos Beltran beats Zimmeran to the third base line with a hard hit double, Wright moves to third. Carlos Delgado is next in the Mets' unforgiving order. Delgado grounds to first, DY bobbles and tosses Chico who tags the bag to end the first.

Austin Kearns takes a fastball off the hip and takes first for his suffering. Elijah Dukes turns around on a Pedro fastball and rips a double to left, one-hop off the base of the wall. Felipe Lopez is batting in the six-spot, and the Mets' announcers are all over his recent comments about not wanting to ride the pine. Lopez hits a low liner to first that Delgado wrangles and throws to first in time to meet the covering Pedro, Kearns scores, 1-0 Nationals. Ryan Langerhans swings over a slow full count change for strike three.

Matt Chico grounds out to short. 1-0 after one and a half. New York outfielder Angel Pagan beats out a ground ball to short when Guzman's throw is a step late. Ryan Ch-Ch-Ch Church looks awful in a Mets' uniform. Church stares at strike three from Chico. Mets' catcher Raul Casanova grounds to third, Zimmerman throws sidearm to second, to Guzman to DY at first for the DP to end the second.

Pedro Martinez tantalizes Guzman with a two-strike change. Paul Lo Duca flies out to center. Zimmerman does the same. Martinez through three, and then up at bat to lead off the bottom of the frame with a pop out to center that Ryan Langerhans handles. Jose Reyes pops up behind the plate. Luis Castillo lines a two-out single to left. David Wright singles to center. Carlos Beltran rips one to left, Dukes' falls on the first step but recovers in time to make the grab ending the third. 1-0 Nationals.

DY starts the fourth with a groundout. Austin Kearns takes an inside fastball out of the park on a long fly ball to left and off the fence of the field behind the main park, 2-0 Nationals. Elijah Dukes is robbed by Angel Pagan on a low liner to left. Felipe Lopez misses a two-strike fastball for the third out of the fourth.

Matt Chico backs Delgado up with a two-strike fastball inside and then gets a groundout for the first out of the Mets' fourth. Matt Chico loses Angel Pagan and issues his first walk of the afternoon. Lo Duca throws a wild ball to second as Pagan steals a bag. Church grounds out to Guzman at short. Raul Casanova flies out to center. 2-0 Nationals. Four scoreless for Chico.

Ryan Langerhans is ready for the two-strike change this time and he hits Pedro's offering back up the middle. Chico squares to bunt...and pops the second attempt to the catcher who throws to first for an easy DP. Guzman grounds to second to end the top of the fifth. Pinch hitter Caleb Stewart replaces Pedro, grounding out to DY to start the Mets' half of the frame. Jose Reyes doubles to left off Chico on a high fastball, and Chico's done for the day, replaced by Chris Schroder. (cue "Peanuts" intro). Reyes tries to take third and Lo Duca guns him down. Luis Castillo grounds weakly to second and Felipe Lopez sails the throw to first for an error. David Wright takes a full-count fastball to left to tie the game at 2-2 in the fifth. Carlos Beltran bloops one just out of the reach of Felipe Lopez's glove for a single. Carlos Delgado tosses his bat in disgust as he pops out to the infield to end the fifth.

Ricardo Rincon takes over for Pedro in the top of the sixth. Lo Duca strikes out swinging. Zimmerman goes down looking. DY from the rigth side, grounds out to short. Schroder's back to face the Mets left field replacement du jour Angel Pagan, who triples over Austin Kearns glove in right and off the wall. Ryan Church takes four straight Schroder for a walk. Raul Casanova swings through a change for strike three. Marlon Anderson doubles off the wall in right. Pagan scores. Church to third. 3-2 NY. Jose Reyes finds the gap in left and knocks in two before the relay from Dukes to Guzman beats Reyes to third. 5-2 Mets. Two down. Damion Easley lines out to Dukes in left. 5-2 after six.

Pedro Feliciano gets a groundout from Kearns to start the seventh. Elijah Dukes hits an excuse-me grounder to first that Anderson tosses to Feliciano covering. Felipe Lopez gets a high chopper through short for a single. Langerhans grounds out to third to end the top of the seventh. Washington lefty Jason Stanford gets David Wright to fly to left, but Rob Mackowiac can't track it as the wind gives Wright a double. Endy Chavez lines to right, Wright to third. Former Expo Fernando Tatis flies to center, Justin Maxwell doesn't even pretend to throw home. Wright scores. 6-2 Mets. Brady Clark hits a grounder that Zimmerman bobbles but plays. Anderson Hernandez lines to short left. Gustavo Molina up as the Mets clear the bench. Molina hits an RBI single over second. 7-2 NY. Marlon Anderson lines to right. 8-2 Mets. Ruben Gotay walks to load the bases. (Stanford might want to take off the sunglasses.) Damion Easley grounds to short, Guzman backhands and throws to second. 8-2 NY after seven.

Aaron Boone starts the eight at bat against Scott Schoeneweis with a line-out to third. Cristian Guzman flies out to left. Wil Nieves grounds to second. Ray King will pitch in the bottom of the eigth for DC. Rafael Arroyo bats for the Mets. Arroyo drops a single in left. Endy Chavez grounds out to short. Fernando Tatis grounds to third where Pete Orr plays it. Brady Clark strikes out to end the eigth.

Mets' reliever Matt Wise comes on to end it. Pete Orr pops out to right center. Matt Whitney flies out to right. Rob Mackowiac walks. Justin Maxwell grounds out to second. 8-2 Mets win.

GAME NOTES
Lost in the all the New York scoring is Chico's outing which was impressively poised as always with the Nationals' young lefty. Chico's line...4.1 IP, 6 hits, 0 ER, 1 walk, 2 K's, 3.50 ERA on the Spring.

Did Chris Schroder hurt his chances to stay in the bullpen with a blown save and the loss in today's game?

Was Dukes injured again running out his double? Dukes got a visit from Manny Acta and the trainer but stayed in the game...

Is that the performance Felipe Lopez wanted to follow his incendiary comments in the press?

Lo Duca goes 1 for 3 with a single, one steal against, one caught stealing in Nationals' debut.

Odalis Perez, Chico, and John Lannan? Which lefty won't make it? Or can all three stay in DC?

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