33-year-old Nats' catcher Carlos Maldonado tied today's Grapefruit League game at 3-3 with a two-run home run off right-hander Lance Lynn in the bottom of the ninth, but the Washington Nationals couldn't take the lead so they settled for a tie with the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon. Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak (@acomak) said inclement weather was approaching anyway. Before Maldonado's blast, the only run the Nationals scored came in the bottom of the first when shortstop Ian Desmond collected his first hit of the Spring, doubling off 21-year-old Cards' '09 1st Round pick Shelby Miller to lead off the inning before coming around to score on a two-out single by Jason Michaels. Desmond, who's 1 for 11 after today's double, left the game after popping out in his second at bat, but Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters after the game that nothing was wrong with the infielder, offering the following explanation for the early exit...
25-year-old Nats' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann threw three scoreless today in his Spring Training debut, allowing 3 hits and a walk while striking out three and throwing 44 pitches, 29 of them strikes. Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, on Twitter (@AdamKilgoreWP) said the '07 2nd Round pick, "... threw his fastball in the 90-94 mph range," and, "... made a couple Cardinals look silly with his slider today. Filthy." After Zimmermann, 21-year-old 2011 3rd Round pick Matt Purke pitched against pros for the first time this Spring (after an earlier start against Georgetown), giving up four hits and one run on a HR by Cards' outfielder Daniel Descalso.
After Desmond and Michaels combined for the Nationals' first run in the bottom of the first, the Nats were held hitless with only two batters reaching base (one on a K/WP, one on a walk) before Jarrett Hoffpauir singled to lead off the eighth. 25-year-old Nats' prospect Tyler Moore singled to start the ninth for the fourth of Washington's five hits before scoring on Maldonado's HR. The game was tied at 1-1 after Zimmermann and Purke pitched. Nats' right-hander Ryan Mattheus threw a scoreless frame in the sixth, but veteran reliever Brad Lidge gave up three hits, all singles and two runs, one earned, in an inning of work in the seventh. After Lidge, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen gave up a hit and a walk each before the tying home run in the Nationals 9th.
• Notes: The Nationals take on the Astros tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 pm EST. Edwin Jackson's going to make start no. 2 of the Spring and Henry Rodriguez is reportedly going to pitch for the first time. The game is available via MLB's Gameday Audio. It's Houston's feed though. The Nats will face Livan Hernandez again tomorrow in Space Coast Stadium. Barring any changes, here's the lineup (via MLB.com's Bill Ladson @washingnats) the former Nationals' right-hander will see: 1. Steve Lombardozzi - SS; 2. Danny Espinosa - 2B; 3. Ryan Zimmerman - 3B; 4. Mark DeRosa - 1B; 5. Jayson Werth - DH; 6. Wilson Ramos - C 7. Bryce Harper - RF; 8. Brett Carroll - CF; 9. Roger Bernadina - LF.