Washington Nationals Finish Exhibition Season With 8-7 Loss To Boston Red Sox.

• E-Jax In D.C.: In his first start in Nationals Park, Nats' right-hander Edwin Jackson, who signed a 1-year/$11M dollar deal this winter, retired the first nine Red Sox' batters he faced on 34 pitches, 12 in the first, 12 in the second and 10 in the third. 9 up and 9 down. Boston's fourth started with back-to-back hits off the 28-year-old E-Jax, however, with Jacoby Ellsbury lining a sliced single to left-center to break up the no-hit bid and Dustin Pedroia breaking up the shutout with an RBI double into the left field corner that gave the Sox a 1-0 lead.

Make that 2-0 Sawks after a fly to left field moves Pedroia over to third so that a David Ortiz' RBI groundout to second brings the second run home. A 20-pitch fourth has Jackson at 54 pitches after 4.0 IP. Red Sox' right-hander Clay Buchholz made it through the fourth without allowing a hit, retiring 12 Nats in a row on 40 pitches, 29 of them strikes.

• Rhino Sees Red...

Buchholz was perfect through four, but after a long spell on the bench while the Red Sox scored four and chased Edwin Jackson in the top of the 5th, 6-0, the Red Sox' right-hander surrendered his first hit of the afternoon. Adam LaRoche sent a sharp grounder by first into right and one-out later (a Jayson Werth K) took second on a Mark DeRosa single to right. Xavier Nady grounded into a force at second, moving LaRoche to third and putting runners on the corners with two down and then WILSON RAMOS LAUNCHED a 1-1 fastball to left-center and into the Red Porch seats. Two-out, three-run home run for the Nats' backstop and it's a game all of a sudden at 6-3 Boston...

• Desmond Does It Too: Buccholz came back out for the sixth and surrendered a solo shot to left by Ian Desmond, who took a 2-0 fastball for a ride. Line drive HR, 6-4 game after six, and the Nationals rally in the seventh to tie it.

Mark DeRosa, Xavier Nady and Wilson Ramos hit back-to-back-to-back singles off Red Sox' left-hander Justin Thomas, with Ramos' RBI grounder through the left side of the infield bringing DeRosa's pinch runner, Adrian Sanchez, around from second ahead of a throw home by Red Sox' left fielder Darnell McDonald. "Safe!" 6-5 game. Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa take back-to-back one-out walks, with Espinosa's forcing in a run (X. Nady from third) and it's a 6-6 game with the bases still loaded. Steve Lombardozzi's sac fly to left is deep enough to bring Ramos home ahead of a strong throw in by McDonald, and it's 7-6 Nationals after seven.

• Make That 7-7: Nats' reliever Ryan Mattheus entered the game to the strains of Katy Perry's "Fireworks", then quickly gave up the lead just four pitches into the eighth when 29-year-old Red Sox' "prospect" Daniel Nava took a 2-1 fastball to straight-center over the Shark and over the wall. 7-7 game. Still tied at 7-7 after eight. Nationals' reliever Henry Rodriguez, who was untouchable all Spring, gives up a leadoff single by Boston catcher Dan Butler. A sac bunt moves the catcher to second, and he takes third as Lombardozzi bounces a throw to first. E5. Jason Repko follows with an RBI double and the Red Sox are back up at 8-7 after eight and a half...

• He Was Safe!!: The Nationals try to rally one more time with Ian Desmond drawing a two-out walk (+Patience), stealing second (ill-advisedly?) and then coming around on a Danny Espinosa line drive to center. There's going to be a play at the plate... Desmond rounds third, the throw comes in from Sox' center fielder Jason Repko. Dan Butler catches it, applies the tag... "You'rrrrrre OUT!" the ump yells. He was safe. Desmond gives the ump a look then let's it go. It's only an exhibition. (But he was safe.) Sox win, 8-7 final. Next stop Chicago...BOX SCORE.

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