In sunny Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium today, the Washington Nationals, with righty Jordan Zimmermann on the mound, took on the Miami Marlins, while in Lake Buena Vista, Florida's Champion Stadium, the Nationals, with right-hander Taylor Jordan on the hill, took on the Atlanta Braves.
VIERA: Zimmermann, in his fourth start of the Spring, gave up a triple to center by Marlins' leadoff man Dee Gordon in the first at bat of the game. Gordon scored on a single by Adeiny Hechavarria, 1-0 Fish early.
LAKE BUENA VISTA: Meanwhile, in Champion Stadium, Nationals' leadoff man and center fielder Michael Taylor doubled to start the away half of the split-squad matchup and moved to third on a groundout by Kevin Frandsen, but two outs later, Taylor was stranded at third when Tyler Moore K'd swinging to end a scoreless first by Braves' lefty Eric Stults.
VIERA: Reid Brignac singled through second with two down in the Marlins' second, breaking Zimmermann's streak of five-straight batters set down, but the Marlins' third baseman was thrown out going for second base by Nats' center fielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. to end the frame. Still 1-0 Marlins.
Dan Uggla and Kila Ka'aihue hit back-to-back one-out singles off Marlins' starter Henderson Alvarez in the Nationals' second, and one out later, Jordan Zimmermann took a HBP (and wasn't happy about it) on the shoulder to load the bases in front of Tony Gwynn, Jr., whose fly to center ended the threat. Still 1-0 Fish.
Alvarez stepped in against Zimmermann in the first at bat of the top of the third, and backed out of the box on the first pitch (according to WJFK's Dave Jageler) before grounding out for the first out of the frame. #nopaybacknow
Zimmermann upset Alvarez threw up & in. "I'm a pitcher. Throw it over the middle. I'm not going to hurt you." Said it seemed intentional.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 21, 2015
LAKE BUENA VISTA: Taylor Jordan and Michael Taylor hit back-to-back singles off Eric Stults in the first two at bats of the top of the third, and both eventually scored, Jordan on an RBI groundout by Kevin Frandsen and Taylor on a one-out single by Mike Carp. 2-0 Nationals.
After scoring a run to help his own cause, Jordan retook the mound and completed his third scoreless inning of work, pitching around a two-out single by Stults.
VIERA: Ian Desmond singled to start the Nats' third in Space Coast Stadium and Bryce Harper walked in the next at bat to put two on against Alvarez. One out later, Wilson Ramos came through with a two-run single, 2-1, and Dan Uggla followed that up with a two-run home run, 4-1 Nationals.
LAKE BUENA VISTA: Evan Meek took over for Taylor Jordan (3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) on the mound in the bottom of the fourth in Champion Stadium and gave up three straight hits as the Braves rallied to tie things up at 2-2. Alberto Callaspo singled to start the frame and took third on a double by Kelly Johnson before both runners scored on a game-tying single by Jonny Gomes. Gomes scored one at bat later, after an A.J. Pierzynski walk, when Todd Cunningham connected for the fourth hit off Meek. 3-2 Braves.
VIERA: Reed Johnson and Reid Brignac hit back-to-back singles to start the top of the fifth. Jordan Zimmermann and Henderson Alvarez, after HBP early in the game, exchanged words after Alvarez bunted both runners into scoring position (on a pitch Zimmermann threw inside according to Charlie and Dave).
After Alvarez's bunt/staredown, Z'mann told him: "Can I help you?' He didn't say anything. I said 'Go back to the dugout where you belong.'"— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 21, 2015
Dee Gordon grounded to first in the next at bat, and Ryan Zimmerman came home with the throw, catching Johnson in a rundown which led to the second out of the inning and Zimmermann struck Adeiny Hechavarria out to end the threat and keep it 4-1 Nationals.
LAKE BUENA VISTA: Blake Treinen (with help from the left side of the Nats' defense -- Ian Stewart and Emmannuel Burriss) completed a quick, 1-2-3 5th vs the Braves and Casey Janssen followed him on the mound in the sixth with a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 frame of his own. Still 3-2 Atlanta after six.
The Braves added to their lead in the seventh, however, pushing three runs across against Nats' right-hander Bruce Billings. 5-2 Atlanta final.
VIERA: Former Nationals' draft pick Aaron Crow, who was acquired by the Marlins in November, gave up a hit in a scoreless inning of work against the team he failed to sign with in the summer of 2008.
Aaron Barrett took the mound for the Nationals in the top of the eighth and retired the side in order to preserve the Nationals' 4-1 lead.
Rafael Martin came on in the ninth looking for the Spring Training save and gave up a run on a walk and an RBI double before locking down the 4-2 win.