It's a split-squad Spring Sunday afternoon tilt with what could safely be called the Washington Nationals' B-team visiting the Cleveland Indians in Winter Haven, Florida's Chain of Lakes Park, the Indians' Spring home. Matt Chico on the hill for the Nationals against the Indians' Jake Westbrook, while the rest of the Nationals stay home in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium to welcome the other Indians.
The Nationals' starting lineup...
Felipe Lopez SS
Pete Orr 3B
Bret Boone 2B
Elijah Dukes CF
Ryan Langerhans LF
Alex Escobar DH
Matt Whitney 1B
Humberto Cota C
Justin Maxwell RF
Jake Westbrook retires the Nationals in order in the first. Matt Chico gets Grady Sizemore swinging to start the bottom of the frame. Jason Michaels works back from 0-2 to a full count and takes a walk from Chico bringing up PRONK the Indians' DH today, Travis Hafner. Hafner drops a single in front of Ryan Langerhans in left. Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez goes to a full count and then grounds to Pete Orr at first, to Bret Boone at second, double play to end the first.
Elijah Dukes leads off the second, working Jake Westbrook to a full count before grounding out to third. Ryan Langerhans grounds out for Westbrook's fifth straight out before Alex Escobar reaches base when his grounder bounces off Andy Marte's glove at first. Former Indians' prospect Matt Whitney grounds into a force at second. Two scoreless for Westbrook.
Chico gives up a long fly ball to Casey Blake to start the second, but Langerhans makes the grab. Asdrubal Cabrera rips a grounder at second that Bret Boone bobbles but plays. Ben Francisco flies out to Dukes in center. No score after two.
Westbrook walks Nationals' catcher Humberto Cota to begin the third. Justin Maxwell takes a breaking ball for strike three. Felipe Lopez swings through a change, and Pete Orr takes a fastball on the outside of the plate. Westbrook throws three scoreless.
Josh Barfield leads off the Cleveland third with a long ball off of Chico for a 1-0 Indians' lead. Andy Marte follows suit on the next offering from Matt Chico. 2-0 Tribe. Chico gets Grady Sizemore to pop up to the infield for the first out of the inning. Jason Michaels singles under a diving Felipe Lopez. PRONK up next as Michaels steals second. Hafner doubles into the corner in right to score Michaels. 3-0 Cleveland. Victor Martinez grounds into a DP to end the third. Chico struggles against the AL lineup...3.0 IP, 5 hits, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HR, 6.75 ERA.
Westbrook's out after 3.0 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K's...replaced by Indians' right hander Masahide Kobayashi. Bret Boone grounds out to third. Elijah Dukes takes a fastball in the arm for a free pass to first. Ryan Langerhans strikes out one pitch after Dukes gets nailed stealing second. 3-0 Cleveland after three and a half innings.
Chico, somewhat surpisingly, is back for the fourth. Casey Blake hits a full-count fastball for a double to start the Indians' fourth. Asdrubal Cabrera pops out to short right failing to move Blake up. Ben Francisco works a one-out walk. Josh Barfield grounds to Pete Orr who takes the force at second. Andy Marte walks on a full count offering to load the bases. Chico's out...
Chico's final line...3.2 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 2 HR, 6.23 ERA
Collin Balester replaces Chico with the bases juiced and Grady Sizemore at the plate and gets the Nationals through the fourth without giving up any more runs...(Don't know how, MLB Gameday Audio died for a minute...) Cleveland lefty Aaron Fultz takes over for the Indians in the fifth. Alex Escobar flies out to start the frame. Matt Whitney takes a fastball for strike three. Humberto Cota works a two-out walk to bring up Justin Maxwell. Maxwell flies out to left. 3-0 Tribe after four and a half.
Jason Michaels takes Collin Balester deep to start the bottom of the fifth for the Indians' third home run of the afternoon. 4-0 Cleveland. PRONK? Balester walks the big man. Victor Martinez hits into his third double play of the day, ripping a grounder back to Balester, who starts the DP. Casey Blake drops a tweener in left. Asdrubal Cabrera flies out to left. 4-0 after five.
Felipe Lopez singles through third to start the sixth. Pete Orr grounds to first, Marte touches the bag, throws to second where Cabrera makes the tag, double play. Bret Boone flies out to left. Aaron Fultz completes his second scoreless. Balester's back for the bottom of the sixth, and he gets a ground out from Ben Francisco to start the frame. Balester strikes out Josh Barfield with a sinking fastball. Andy Marte grounds out short. Balester holds the score at 4-0 Indians through six.
Scott Elarton takes over on the hill for the Indians. Jason Dubois pops out to second on the first pitch. Ryan Langerhans singles to center on a line drive. Alex Escobar flies out to the new Indians' left fielder Jason Tyner. Matt Whitney takes Elarton deep to center...Sizemore can't get to it...Langerhans scores. Whitney reaches third safely. 4-1 Indians. Nationals' catcher Javi Herrara grounds back to the mound. Stand up and stretch...
Lefty reliever Arnie Munoz takes over on the mound for the Nationals in the seventh. Grady Sizemore works a leadoff walk. Jason Tyner singles, moving Sizemore to third. Travis Hafner up, as a wild pitch moves Tyner into scoring position. PRONK flies out foul of third, where Matt Whitney nabs it. Indians' catcher Armando Camacaro hits a sac fly to right. Sizemore tags and scores. 5-1 Indians. Infielder Aaron Herr grounds out to end the seventh.
Justin Maxwell starts the eight against Scott Elarton with a pop out to the catcher Camacaro. Josh Whitesell goes down staring. Peter Orr grounds back to Elarton to end the top of the seventh.
Adam Carr takes over on the hill for the Nationals in the eigth, and Rule 5 pick Garrett Guzman gets some time in the outfield. Carr's pounding fastballs into the catcher's glove. Carr walks infielder Joshua Rodriguez to start the eigth. Ben Francisco flies out to left. Josh Barfield works the second walk of the inning. Andy Marte flies out to the infield. Right fielder Brad Snyder's up next. Carr out, much to the dismay of the announce team...Lefty Charlie Manning replaces Carr. Manning strikes out Snyder.
Three more outs for the Nationals in the afternoon affair. Righty Jeff Harris takes over for the Indians. Nationals' infielder Ed Rogers reaches a ground ball to third that Cleveland third baseman Aaron Herr throws away. Herr drops a broken bat blooper from Pete Orr. Lefty Garrett Guzman grounds into a force at second, and the DP throw to first sails high, Rogers scores. 5-2 Indians. Wil Nieves grounds into a game-ending DP. 5-2 Cleveland Rocks...I mean wins...
Over in Viera, Florida, the Nationals lead 9-0 in the in the 7th on a HR and 4 RBI's from Cristian Guzman, a run-scoring triple from Lastings Milledge and RBI's from Nick Johnson, Wily Mo Pena, Ryan Zimmerman and outfielder Michael Burgess.