March 6, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) throws a warm up pitch in the first inning of the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
• LEFTY: Washington Nationals' starter Gio Gonzalez's second outing of the Spring began with the 26-year-old left-hander throwing a low '90's fastball for a strike to St. Louis Cardinals' right fielder Shane Robinson. Gonzalez followed that fastball up with another heater for a called strike and then an 0-2 bender that got a swinging K out the 27-year-old Cards' outfielder. A weak popout off IF/OF Tyler Greene's bat resulted in out no.2, but a two-out single by Matt Holliday delayed the completion of Gonzalez's scoreless first for one pitch on which 3B David Freese rolled a grounder to third to end the inning after just eight pitches total, six of them strikes.
Cards' first baseman Lance Berkman flew out to Eury Perez in center to start the bottom of the second after St. Louis' starter Jake Westbrook retired the Nats' batters in order for the second inning in a row. Yadier Molina, who signed a 5-year/$75M dollar extension early this month after a .305/.349/.465 season in 2011, flew out to right in his first at bat of the afternoon, but the Nationals' left-handed starter gave up another two-out single, this one by outfielder Jon Jay, before a line drive back to the mound off Daniel Descalso's bat forced Gio Gonzalez to defend himself while making an inning-ending catch. 2.0 scoreless...
• RISP: Nats' outfielder Brett Carroll singled off Jake Westbrook to start the Nationals' third, then went first-to-third™ on an expertly executed hit-and-run single through short by today's shortstop Andres Blanco, setting Eury Perez up with an RBI opportunity the 21-year-old outfielder squandered by striking out swinging for the second time this afternoon. Roger "The Shark" Bernadina came through, however, sending a two-out single up the middle to bring Brett Carroll in for the game's first run, 1-0 Nationals after two and a half.
• E6: An error by Andres Blanco put the leadoff runner on in the Cardinals' third, but Gio Gonzalez got a 4-6-3 DP out of Shane Robinson and what should have been an inning-ending grounder out of Tyler Greene, if Blanco's second error of the inning hadn't extended the frame for two more pitches before Gonzalez popped Matt Holliday up to end his third scoreless frame. Six scoreless overall for Gonzalez to start the Spring. WTOP's Craig Heist put the unofficial pitch count at 36 for Gonzalez after the third, 33 according to the Washington Times' Amanda Comak.
• Moar RISP: The Nationals loaded the bases with no one out in the fourth with Adam LaRoche, Jason Michaels and Wilson Ramos singling in succession off Cards' lefty R.J. Swindle. LaRoche tagged and made it about halfway down the third base line before turning back on a non-sac fly by Brett Carroll, however, and a double-play-grounder off Anthony Rendon's bat let the St. Louis' left-hander off the hook after a skaky start.
Andres Blanco avoided collecting his third error of the game, throwing David Freese out on the grounder to short that started Gio Gonzalez's fourth inning of work. Gonzalez got up 0-2 quickly against Lance Berkman and got the veteran first baseman swinging at a pitch in the dirt for out no.2 of the fourth and K no. 2 on the afternoon. With rain falling in Space Coast Stadium, another grounder to short, this one by Yadier Molina, ended Gio Gonzalez's fourth scoreless inning of the afternoon and sixth of the Spring....Gonzalez's line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, 51 pitches, 36 strikes (according to WTOP's Craig Heist.)
The rain then began to fall...The game was eventually called. 1-0 Nats when it was postponed.