Through four Grapefruit League outings (two of them starts) before tonight's game against the Houston Astros, 25-year-old right-hander Taylor Jordan allowed 16 hits and seven runs, all earned, while walking no one and striking out 13. Jordan, who is competing for the final spot in the Washington Nationals' rotation, took the mound in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium tonight knowing that Tanner Roark put together a strong start against minor league competition on Tuesday.
The Nats' '09 9th Round pick started the game with a strikeout, throwing a 2-2 change down and away that fell in under Dexter Fowler's bat for a swinging strike three. Jordan got a sharp grounder to third out of Astros' second baseman Jose Altuve, but Ryan Zimmerman threw wide of first after making a slick diving play on the lip of the infield grass. Altuve was dead-to-rights when he took off early from first in the next at bat and Jordan stepped off, but the Nationals' starter misfired and threw the ball by Ian Desmond at second and into center field, allowing Altuve to take third and then score on a groundout to first by Jason Castro. 1-0 Astros.
Tonight, the 2013 GCL #Nats team -- which had a record-setting winning percentage (.845) --will receive their rings: pic.twitter.com/X3NtcHRSnK— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 19, 2014
Jordan issued his first walk of the spring in a two-out at bat against Houston first baseman Marc Krauss, then gave up a line drive single to right by Jon Singleton that sent Krauss around to third before he popped L.J. Hoes up to center to end a 21-pitch first inning.
Astros' starter Jarred Cosart retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the first, bringing Jordan back out to the mound after a short rest. Marwin Gonzalez grounded out to first on a 1-2 change, but Adam LaRoche misplayed it, allowing the 'Stros' third baseman to reach on the second official error of the game, since Zimmerman's throwing error in the first was ruled a hit. Working out of the stretch, Jordan fell behind Jonathan Villar 2-0, but got a grounder to Anthony Rendon at second to start a 4-6-3 DP. Cosart K'd looking without taking his bat off his shoulder, ending an 11-pitch inning for Jordan, who was at 32 overall after two.
The Nationals went down in order again in the second.
Jordan got the first out of the third with one pitch when Dexter Fowler grounded weakly to second on a sinker. Jose Altuve grounded to third on a 2-2 change. Jason Castro's check-swing grounder to the mound ended a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 frame that had the Nats' right-hander up to 40 pitches overall after three.
Jarred Cosart retired the first nine Nationals he faced in order, striking out six.
Anthony Rendon was on the outfield grass in the shift when he fielded a groundout to short right by Astros' first baseman Marc Krauss for the first out of the fourth and Taylor Jordan's seventh ground ball out of the game. 22-year-old Astros' outfielder Jon Singleton took a 2-2 change that broke back inside for a called strike three and out no.2. A 90 mph 3-1 change got a weak groundout to short from L.J. Hoes and a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 4th had Jordan up to 53 pitches total with eight ground ball outs through four innings.
The Nationals were hitless through four against Jarred Cosart.
Marwin Gonzalez flew to short left on a 2-1 heater from Taylor Jordan, but Ian Desmond took a swipe at it as he sprinted back into left field, only to have it go in and out of his glove for what ended up being ruled a leadoff double. Jonathan Villar took a 1-2 change inside for a called strike three and the first out of the fifth. After Cosart took a called strike three for out no.2, Dexter Fowler grounded to first on a 1-1 change to end a 16-pitch inning that had Jordan up to 69 pitches. 9/1 GO/FO.
.@TaylorJordan38 is through five innings of work and has set down 11 of the last 12 batters. #Nats down 1-0.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 19, 2014
Taylor Jordan's Line: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB (first of the spring) 5 Ks, 9/1 GO/FO, 69 P…
Ross Detwiler learned on Tuesday that he will be pitching out of the bullpen at the start this season and he made his first appearance since getting the news that he was out of the running for the fifth spot in the rotation in the sixth inning tonight. Marc Krauss took a two-out walk from the Nationals' lefty, but Detwiler got a groundout to first from Jon Singleton with a 1-2 curve that ended an impressive 18-pitch inning.
Anthony Rendon connected for the Nationals' first hit of the game with one out in the bottom of the sixth, singling to right off left-hander Raul Valdes. Denard Span singled to left with two down and after Ian Desmond walked, Ryan Zimmerman stepped in with the bases loaded, but flew out to right. 1-0 Astros after six.
Rafael Soriano needed 16 pitches to retire the Astros in order in the top of the seventh.
Tyler Clippard gave up a bomb of a home run to right on the first pitch he threw in the eighth. Astros' outfielder Jesus Guzman's opposite field blast made it a 2-0 lead on the Nationals... and that's how it ended.