Washington Nationals Drop 6-2 Decision To St. Louis, Stephen Strasburg Finishes Up Spring vs Cardinals.

March 20, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) during the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

One St. Louis Cardinals' runner reached base in a 16 pitch, 11 strike scoreless first for Stephen Strasburg this afternoon in the Washington Nationals' final Grapefruit League game this Spring in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium. The Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick and Opening Day starter struck two batters out and pitched around the infield single by Cards' outfielder Jon Jay, but after St. Louis' starter Jake Westbrook's quick 1-2-3 bottom of the first, the Nats' 23-year-old starter was back on the mound where he struggled in the second...

Cards' third baseman Matt Carpenter and catcher Tony Cruz hit back-to-back singles off Strasburg in his second inning of work. Nats' third baseman (for the day) Chad Tracy fielded a sharp grounder from former Nats' prospect-for-a-minute Erik Komatsu and stepped on third, but his throw to second was high, so no DP. The next batter, Daniel Descalso, then doubled to left to drive two runs in and give the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead. A throwing error on the relay throw in from left by Brett Carroll allowed Descalso to take third after his two-run double and he then scored ahead of a Steve Lombardozzi throw home on a grounder to second off the opposing pitcher's bat, and it was 3-0 Cardinals when Strasburg finally finished a 25-pitch second. 41 pitches total (unofficial count) after two.

Strasburg walked Carlos Beltran with one down in the third, but the Desmond-H8RZ' dream infield of Steve Lombardozzi at second and Danny Espinosa at short combined with Adam LaRoche on a 4-6-3 inning-ending DP that helped the Nats' starter through a quick third inning. In the fourth, Strasburg gave up a one-out single, but nothing else in a scoreless frame, finishing up his afternoon and his Spring with 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's, 7/1 GO/FO, 67 pitches, 43 strikes (acc to The Washington Times' Amanda Comak.)

John Lannan replaced Strasburg and threw a quick 1-2-3 fifth, but a one-out single and a one-out walk in the top of the sixth were followed by an Erik Komatsu RBI infield single that Steve Lombardozzi couldn't handle. 4-0 St. Louis. One run scores, and two more come around on Cards' infielder Daniel Descalso's second two-run double of the day. 6-0 Cardinals after five and a half. Chad Tracy took Jake Westbrook deep to right field and over the wall for a solo HR in the Nats' sixth to make it a 6-1 game. Lannan gave up a leadoff double and a two-out single in the seventh, but completed a scoreless inning of work. Sean Burnett threw a scoreless eighth, Brad Lidge retired three batters in order in the ninth, and the 35-year-old right-hander has allowed just five hits and three runs, one earned in 9.0 IP in his first Spring with Washington, over which he's walked no one and recorded 11 K's. Not quite Henry Rodriguez-good, but not bad from the veteran reliever.

The Nats' bats never woke up, though. Actually, infield prospect Josh Johnson doubled in the ninth, but that's it. Six hits and two runs total for the day. Cards win, 6-2 final.

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