Stephen Strasburg wore the home whites on the mound in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium where he took on the New York Mets in Grapefruit League action Thursday night. Jordany Valdespin sliced a 2-1 pitch to left, singling in the first at bat of Strasburg's second Spring start. A broken bat single to right by Collin Cowgill allowed Valdespin to go first-to-third before scoring on a Mike Baxter fly to left. 1-0 NY. A diving 0-2 change got Mets' outfielder Andrew Brown swinging for out no.2 and Kirk Nieuwenhuis got more of the same in a 2-2 count. 2-1 bender then a brutal 2-2 change. 2 Ks, 2 H, 1 ER allowed by the Nats' starter in the top of the first. 16 pitches by Strasburg according to Twitter.
22-year-old Mets' right-hander Rafael Montero, who pitched at Class-A Savannah and High-A St. Lucie in 2012, and was 5th on Baseball America's list of the Mets' Top 10 Prospects, gave up a leadoff double on a 2-2 pitch to Denard Span in the bottom of the first. Montero, who was a combined (11-5) with a 2.36 ERA, 19 walks (1.40 BB/9) and 110 Ks (8.11 K/9) in 20 starts and 122.0 IP in his second pro season last year, retired the next three Nationals in order, however, getting a fly to right from Kurt Suzuki, a pop foul of first from Jayson Werth and a grounder to short from Adam LaRoche to end a scoreless bottom of the first.
Stephen Strasburg missed inside with a 3-2 fastball to Mets' infielder Brandon Hicks, issuing a one-out walk in his second inning of work. Omar Quintinilla got an 0-1 curve and a cruel 0-2 change that got him swinging for out no.2 and K no.3 on the night for the Nats' right-hander. Mike Baxter was victim number four for Stephen Strasburg, who got the former National IF/OF swinging with a two-strike change to end a 17-pitch frame. 33 pitches through 2.0 IP.
Danny Espinosa turned on a fastball low and inside from Rafael Montero and doubled to right with one down for the Nats' second extra base hit. One out later, with Espinosa on third, 2011 1st Rounder Anthony Rendon stepped in and took a healthy cut on 3-1 fastball, coming up empty before doubling to right-center on the 3-2 offering from the Mets' Montero. Tied at 1-1. 5 for 11, 2 doubles and a HR for Rendon so far this Spring.
Collin Cowgill got an 0-1 curve and managed to foul it off, off his foot unfortunately. The Mets' outfielder took an 0-2 change for a called strike three on the next pitch and K no.5 for Stephen Strasburg in 2.1 innings. Jordany Valdespin, who was 2 for 2 after singling to start the 3rd, took second on a wild pitch from Strasburg that got by Kurt Suzuki. The Nats' right-hander walked Mike Baxter on four pitches to put two on with one out, but a 3-2 pitch got DH Andrew Brown swinging and Valdespin was running on the pitch and easily thrown out at third. Double play. 3.0 IP for Strasburg. 1-1 in Viera. The 19-pitch inning had Strasburg at 52 pitches overall.
Strasburg's Line: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 52 P, 30 S.
Denard Span walked to start the bottom of the third. The Nats' leadoff man swiped second on a 2-1 offspeed pitch in the dirt Mets' catcher Travis D'Arnaud couldn't pick. As D.C. GM Mike Rizzo talked about the scouting report saying Mets' right-hander Brandon Lyon went to offspeed pitches in 2-1 counts, Span took advantage of another 2-1 offspeed pitch outside and low to steal third with one down and Jayson Werth up. A grounder up the middle by Werth was then deep enough to bring Span home and give the Nationals a 2-1 lead after 3.0.
Zach Duke brutalized Kirk Nieuwenhuis with an 0-2 slider for out no.1 of the fourth and the Nats' pitchers' 7th K of the game. The Nats' lefty gave up a "double" by Travis D'Arnaud on a sharp grounder to short that bounced off Ian Desmond's backhand and into short left and one out later D'Arnaud scored on an RBI ground-rule double to left by Omar Quintanilla that got over Tyler Moore's head and bounced over the wall in left-center. 2-2 game in the fourth.
Ian Desmond went back up the middle with an 0-1 pitch from Mets' lefty Josh Edgin for a leadoff single in the home half of the fourth. An errant throw from Brian Bixler on a grounder to third by Tyler Moore allowed Desmond to move up a base to third and an Anthony Rendon groundout brought Desmond home. 3-2 Nationals. Zach Duke gave up a single in his second inning of work in the fifth, but held the Mets off the board. Still 3-2 Nats after five after Josh Edgin throws a scoreless bottom of the inning.
Yunesky Maya got one pitch with one out when Kirk Nieuwenhuis lined out to Tyler Moore in left to start the top of the sixth. Mets' catcher Travis D'Arnaud hit a low liner to left to leave him 2 for 3 tonight and 4 for 9 so far this Spring. A two-strike fastball fooled Mets' infielder Brandon Hicks and was called strike three for Maya's first K. A two-out walk to Omar Quintanilla brought Brian Bixler up with two on the former Nats singled to left to bring in a run. 3-3 game after five and a half.
Chris Marrero doubled to right just out of the reach of Mets' right fielder Mike Baxter for a leadoff, two-base hit in the Nats' sixth. 4 for 14, two doubles this Spring for Marrero. Danny Espinosa walked and Tyler Moore reached on a really-hard-hit grounder to third that loaded the bases for Matt Skole, who walked on four pitches to force the go-ahead run in, making it 4-3 in favor of the Nats after six. Yunesky Maya put runners on the corners with two down and threw one by catcher Chris Snyder to allow the tying run in before he got out of the Mets' seventh. 4-4 game.
Snyder and Corey Brown singled to start the Nats' seventh and one out later, the third single of the inning, by Zach Walters, loaded the bases with Will Rhymes due up. Rhymes flew unproductively to left. Carlos Rivero flew to center and the Nats let Mets' lefty Scott Rice off the hook in what was still a 4-4 game after seven. Nats' lefty Patrick McCoy threw a quick, 1-2-3 top of the eighth vs NY. Eury Perez reached safely on yet another infield single with two down in the bottom of the eighth, leaving the 22-year-old outfielder 6 for 16 so far in Spring Training. Perez was stranded, however, when Chris Snyder flew to right to end the frame.
Mets' right-hander Jeremy Hefner got the final out of the eighth and came back out for the ninth, walking Chris Marrero with one down. Zach Walters K'd looking for out no.2 of the inning and Will Rhymes... reached safely on a grounder to short. E on Mets' shortstop Wilfredo Tovar, but Carlos Rivero K'd swinging to end the ninth. 4-4 after nine. After a scoreless frame in the top of the ninth. Ryan Mattheus picked up where he left off in the Mets' 10th, striking Mets' outfielder Juan Lagares and catcher Landon Powell before groundout to second ended the 10th. Six-straight retired by Mattheus. 3 Ks.