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Nationals 9-2 over Tigers in Viera: Jordan Zimmerman sharp; Gio Gonzalez "Meow"

The Washington Nationals beat the Detroit Tigers 9-2 with a solid outing by Jordan Zimmermann and some big hits from a number of Nats. But the real fun was off the field where Gio Gonzalez "meow'd" his way through an in-game interview.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Zimmermann vs Price in Space Coast Stadium: Before today's game, Matt Williams told reporters that Washington Nationals' third baseman Anthony Rendon was nursing a sore left knee which the 24-year-old infielder injured on a diving play at third base earlier this week.

The issue is "nothing major," according to the Nationals on Twitter, but Rendon will be out of action for a couple days.

Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann's second start of the Spring began with a swinging strikeout as he threw a low 90s heater by Detroit Tigers' leadoff man Rajai Davis. Third base ump Andy Fletcher punched Tigers' backstop Alex Avila out on a check-swing strike three on a 1-2 fastball up high from Zimmermann. Yoenis Cespedes tore into a 90 mph 1-2 fastball, but flew out to Tyler Moore in left field to end a 14-pitch opening frame by the Nats' starter.

Today's leadoff man, Nationals' prospect Wilmer Difo, doubled to left, by third, off David Price to start the home half of the first inning.

Price bounced a 1-2 breaking ball to Ian Desmond, allowing Difo to take third base when it got away from Avila, but Desmond failed to bring the run, unable to check his swing on a 2-2 heater up high.

Bryce Harper, with his red socks pulled high to just below the knee, swung his way out from under his helmet on a letter-high 3-1 fastball from Price, then took a 94 mph fastball outside for ball four and a one-out walk.

With runners on the corners and one out, Ryan Zimmerman took a 1-0 curve to left for an RBI double that sent Harper around to third. A groundout to short by Wilson Ramos that led to Zimmerman being tagged out, brought Harper in for a 2-0 lead. Tyler Moore's flyout to deep right-center ended a 27-pitch first by Price.

Tigers' DH Tyler Collins rolled over an 84 mph 1-2 bender. First baseman Jordan Lennerton worked back from 0-2 to a full count and fouled off a few pitches before taking an over-the-top curve for a called strike three. Hernan Perez went to a full count too, went with a fastball away and tripled to the right field corner, just out of Bryce Harper's reach. Jefry Marte stranded the runner, however, falling behind 0-2 quickly and taking a fastball outside for a called strike three. 35 pitches, 24 strikes in two scoreless.

Wilmer Difo hit a two-out RBI triple to center field to drive Derrick Robinson in from second for a 3-0 lead in the Nats' second. Ian Desmond lined Price's 52nd pitch of the game to left to bring Difo in and make it 4-0 Nationals.

Price was up to 57 when he caught Harper looking at a 2-2 fastball low and away for a called strike three and the final out of the second.

Tigers' center fielder Anthony Gose doubled to center off Zimmermann with one out in the Tigers' third, and stole third off the Nats' starter and Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos with Rajai Davis up. A sac fly to left by Davis brought Gose in, 4-1. Zimmermann was done for the day there, after 47 pitches, 33 of them strikes.

Gio Gonzalez talks the state of the Nationals right meow:

Storen's Spring Debut:

Drew Storen got up 0-2 on Yoenis Cespedes, who reached on an infield single on the next offering in spite of Ian Desmond's effort to reach it and make a strong throw from deep in the hole at short. Tyler Collins reached on a grounder to third when Ryan Zimmerman failed to scoop Kevin Frandsen's bounced throw. With runners on the corners and no one out, Tigers' first baseman Jordan Letterton hit a sac fly to center that made it 4-2 Nationals.

Collins was caught trying to steal second by Wilson Ramos. Storen was up to 16 pitches when Hernan Perez flew to center to end Detroit's fourth.

From the 5th Inning on:

Craig Stammen threw a scoreless 11-pitch fifth, retiring the Tigers in order.

Ian Desmond walked and stole second on a delayed steal to start the Nationals' fifth and Bryce Harper tore into a 1-1 fastball from right-hander Josh Zeid, lining a single to right that moved Desmond over to third.

Ryan Zimmerman's double to right brought Desmond in and moved Harper to third, making it 5-2 Nats. Tyler Moore's sac fly scored Harper, 6-2.

Blake Treinen pitched around a leadoff single by Rajai Davis for a scoreless 10-pitch sixth.

If it comes down to Treinen vs Barrett in the pen? Who you got?

Rich Hill needed 14 pitches to retire the Tigers in order in the seventh.

Nats' outfield Drew Vettleson hit a solo home run to right off right-hander Rafael Dolis to put the Nationals up 7-2 after seven.

Nationals' lefty Felipe Rivero got a 6-4-3 DP to get himself out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the Tigers' eighth.

Matt Skole hit an absolute bomb of a home run to right in the Nats' eighth to make it an 9-2 game.