Washington Nationals 7-4 Over Houston Astros, John Lannan Named No. 5 Starter.

March 21, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher John Lannan (31) during the spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at Space Coast Stadium. Atlanta won 3-2 in 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Washington Nationals' skipper Davey Johnson ended any speculation about who'd pitch after Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson in the Nats' rotation when he named John Lannan the Nats' fifth starter this morning. The move officially resigns 26-year-old '07 1st Round pick Ross Detwiler to long relief work out of the pen in favor of the 27-year-old Lannan, who last year had a team-leading ten wins, a career-low 3.70 ERA and 4.28 FIP, 76 walks (3.70 BB/9) and 106 K's (5.17 K/9) in 33 starts and 184.2 IP. In his fourth start and fifth appearance this Spring, Lannan retired the Astros' batters in order in the first this afternoon, but served up a solo HR to left on an 0-1 pitch to Houston third baseman Chris Johnson with one down in the second. 1-0 Houston after one and a half...

Astros' 21-year-old '08 1st Round pick Jordan Lyles gave up three-straight one-out singles in the Nats' second, loading the bases after retiring the Nats' batters in order in the opening frame. The Nationals tied the game up when Jason Michaels grounded into a force at second but avoided the double play. 1-1 game after two...

Danny Espinosa and Ryan Zimmerman hit back-to-back one-out singles in the Nats' third. After experiencing some sort of wrist issue which brought Davey Johnson and the Nationals' trainer out to the plate, Jayson Werth waved them away, spoke to the trainer for a minute, then popped out on a 3-0 pitch (may have been 3-1, Astros' announcers said 3-0) in the Nationals' third. Werth stayed in the game, though even the MLB Network Radio hosts following the game as they visited Space Coast Stadium for their 30 Clubs and 30 Days tour, mentioned the anxious moment. Surely someone will ask after the game. [Update: "????"] Chad Tracy followed with a bloop single to center that fell in in front of former Nats' outfielder Brian Bixler, scoring Espinosa, and Wilson Ramos doubled to right, over Astros' RFer Brandon Barnes' head and off the wall for an RBI double that scored Ryan Zimmerman to make it 3-1 Washington after three.

Lannan retired 12 of 13 batters through four innings in which he threw 51 pitches (acc to the WaTimes' Amanda Comak), surrendering only the solo HR by Chris Snyder in the second. Lannan had the 13th of 14 batters retired when Chris Johnson K'd swinging to start the Astros' 5th, but the ball got by Wilson Ramos (ruled a wild pitch) and let the leadoff runner on for Houston's first actual baserunner. A 4-pitch walk and a base-loading single followed, but the Astros managed only one run on a sac fly to center as Lannan limited the damage and the Nats held on to a 3-2 lead after four and a half innings in Viera.

Jordan Lyles left the game in the fifth, after a wild pitch in a two-out at bat with a runner (Stephen King) on first put a runner in scoring position for Wilson Ramos, whose hard-hit grounder to third bounced off Astros' third baseman Chris Johnson's glove and out into left field. King scored to make it 4-2 Nationals and Lyles was done. Kevin Chapman came on in relief and gave up a long fly ball to right-center off Roger Bernadina's bat as the Shark smoked one for a 2-run blast and a 6-2 Nats' lead. Make 7-2 Nationals after Stephen Lombardozzi singles with one down, goes first-to-third™ on a single to left by Andres Blanco and scores on a Stephen King sac fly to center. #andtheLomboLobbygoescrazy.

Long reliever Ross Detwiler retired the first three Astros he faced in order in the top of the sixth. In his second inning of work, the 26-year-old left-hander had one down and got a grounder in front of the mound from Chris Snyder, but Wilson Ramos threw it by first to put a runner on in front of Houston outfielder Brandon Barnes, whose two-run HR to center made it a 7-4 game. Another error and a dropped ball at first, (Detwiler and Chad Tracy botched a simple play), extended the lefty's second inning of work, but Detwiler limited the damage to the 2-run HR he surrendered. 7-4 Nationals after seven. Ryan Mattheus throws a scoreless eighth. Henry Rodriguez throws a scoreless ninth. (Closer material?) Nats win, 7-4 final. BOX SCORE.

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