VIERA, FL: Ryan Zimmerman struck out on three pitches his first at bat this Spring. The 28-year-old Washington Nationals' third baseman, who's recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, K'd swinging with Nats' outfielder Jayson Werth standing on third base in Space Coast Stadium. Werth had moved to third on a Bryce Harper groundout to second after the Nats' bearded outfielder singled and took an extra base on an error on the hit by Cardinals' outfielder Shane Robinson in center field. Robinson's error also allowed Denard Span score from first after the Nats' leadoff man walked to start the bottom of the first inning against St. Louis' lefty Jaime Garcia. 1-0 Nats early in Grapefruit League action.
Ross Detwiler gave up back-to-back singles by Shane Robinson and Adron Chambers to start the top of the first against the Cards, and the runners pulled off a double steal before the Nats' 26-year-old left-hander struck out the side, setting Matt Carpenter, Ty Wiggington and Matt Adams down in order in a 32-pitch opening frame. A missed catch in right by Jayson Werth allowed Tony Cruz on in the first at bat of the second against Detwiler, and Cruz took third on a single by Nats' nemesis "Pesky" Pete Kozma. Detwiler got a ground ball to third from Justin Christian that started a 5-4-3 DP on which Cruz scored to tie it at 1-1. Ronny Cedeno's inning-ending strikeout was Detwiler's fourth K and his 19-pitch second ended his second start of the Spring. His third start will take place in a Team USA uniform when Detwiler pitches for the US in the WBC on March 9th:
Detwiler's line: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 51 P, 31 S.
Ryan Zimmerman's second Spring Training at bat came in the third with the Nationals' trailing 2-1 after 28-year-old Cards' outfielder Shane Robinson greeted Nats' right-hander Craig Stammen with a line drive home run to left to lead off the third. Stammen retired the next three batters, then the Nationals rallied in the home half of the frame with Jayson Werth dumping a single in short center and Bryce Harper bouncing a hard hit grounder off a diving Pete Kozma's glove for an infield single. Zimmerman worked the count full the second time up against Jaime Garcia and singled to right to score Werth from second and tie the game at 2-2 after 3.0 in Washington's Spring Training home.
Kurt Suzuki was 1 for 2 today and 3 for 10 this Spring after he doubled with one down in the fourth. The Nats' catcher scored to make it 3-2 Nationals when Steve Lombardozzi sent a chopper over Cards' third baseman Ronny Cedeno and into left. Denard Span walked for the second time today in the next AB, leaving the just-turned-29-year-old outfielder 0 for 1 with two walks this afternoon and 2 for 8 with a double, two walks, two Ks and two stolen bases so far this Spring. Span was replaced at first after his third at bat and pinch runner Corey Brown was doubled up on a Jayson Werth grounder to short that started an inning-ending 6-4-3. 3-2 Nationals after four.
Craig Stammen retired the Cardinals in order in the right-hander's third inning of work in the top of the fifth. Bryce Harper started the Nationals' half of the frame with a swinging bunt single down the third base line that Cards' third baseman Ronny Cedeno had no hope of playing. The "hit" left the 20-year-old Nats' outfielder 2 for 3 today and 9 for 16 with two doubles and a home run in six games this Spring. Harper was doubled up on a groundout to second by Ryan Zimmerman, which left Zim 1 for 3 in his Grapefruit League debut and Adam LaRoche grounded out to end the second inning of work by 25-year-old Cardinals' lefty Tyler Lyons. 3-2 Nats after five.
Veteran reliever Will Ohman made his first appearance of the Spring in the Cardinals' sixth, giving up a long fly ball to center that was caught and a one-out walk that was erased on a caught stealing. The 35-year-old reliever has been dealing with a hamstring injury early this Spring. Ohman gave up a single to right by Matt Adams, then put Tony Cruz on with a free pass in front of Pete Kozma, whose weak roller to third loaded the bases with two down and Justin Christian up. The 32-year-old Christian, who played 34 games for the Giants last season, grounded into a force at third, however, and the Nationals lead held up through five and a half.
After Ian Desmond failed to run out a foul pop that the wind brought back into play and got himself thrown out at first, Danny Espinosa hit a one-out single in the Nationals' sixth. Jhonathan Solano reached on an error on potential DP grounder when the relay throw to first by Pete Kozma got by Cards' first baseman Kolten Wong. The Nationals took advantage of the extra out. Nats' bench bat Chad Tracy stepped in next against 28-year-old Cards' lefty Barrett Browning and took the St. Louis' reliever deep for a two-out, two-run home that gave Washington a three-run lead. 5-2 Nationals after six in Space Coast Stadium.
After left-hander Brandon Mann gave up three runs and the lead on a walk and three hits in the Cardinals' seventh, Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos stepped in with two down in the bottom of the inning and grounded out to third in his first at bat since tearing the ACL and meniscus in his right knee last May 12th. Ramos received a nice ovation from those in attendance at the Nationals' spring home, and the catcher ran out the grounder without incident. 0 for 1 this Spring for Ramos as he works his way back. The Nats got back-to-back two-out walks from Cards' lefty Kevin Siegrist, but Will Rhymes flew out to end the seventh with the score tied at 5-5.
Nats' lefty Patrick McCoy gave up a one-out double by Justin Christian in the Cardinals' eighth, and Christian scored one out later when Cards' 19-year-old, 2011 3rd Round pick C.J. McElroy singled on a soft line drive to right that just cleared Chris Marrero at first. 6-5 Cards after seven and a half. 24-year-old St. Louis right-hander Maikel Cleto gave up a one-out double by Chad Tracy (2 for 2, double, HR) and then walked Corey Brown to bring Tyler Moore up with two on. Moore popped out to short right, but Carlos Rivero came through with a two-out single that brought Tracy in to tie it at 6-6 after eight.
Ryan Mattheus completed his fourth scoreless inning of work this Spring in the top of the ninth, striking out two of the three batters he faced for seven Ks in 4.0 innings in which he's allowed just one hit. Wilson Ramos led off the Nationals' ninth against 24-year-old Cards' right-hander Eduardo Sanchez. The Nats' catcher grounded out the first time up, but this time... he just missed a walk-off home run. Ramos doubled off the wall in center field. Ramos' pinch runner Sandy Leon took third on a groundout by Chris Marrero and then scored the game-winner on a walk-off single by Zach Walters. Ballgame.
7-6 Nationals win.