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Nationals 5-4 over Mets in Grapefruit League opener: Max Scherzer's Spring debut

Max Scherzer was on the mound. Something close to the Washington Nationals' expected everyday lineup started the game. The Nats beat the New York Mets, 5-4. Baseball is back. It's only Spring Training, but it's baseball! We missed you, baseball!!

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Yunel Scratched: There was some news before tonight's game. New Washington Nationals' second baseman Yunel Escobar, who was in the lineup for the Grapefruit League opener when it was originally announced this morning, was a late scratch with what was reported as "general soreness" by writers on the scene in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium. Nationals' manager Matt Williams predicted there might be some soreness for Escobar recently, when he discussed the difficulty of adjusting to a new position.

Williams was talking about what some of the challenges of learning a new position were...

"Today, in his footwork sessions out there, that was a little bit of a challenge for him because he just hasn't done it very much," Williams explained. "I would imagine that he'll be sore as we get through this because it's turning a different direction than he's turned normally playing shortstop. So that being said, that's one of them.

"Arm angles. Depth. Questions about where to play depth-wise and how close he is to second base turning a double play? Where is that position for him? It's different for everybody, but those questions will arise. We're ready and able to deal with them and make him comfortable being out there playing it."

Kevin Frandsen started at second instead, and Mike Carp took over for Frandsen as the DH.

Scherzer's Spring debut: Max Scherzer's first pitch for the Nationals after signing a 7-year/$210M deal this winter, was a fastball for a strike, and he retired the first three batters he faced in relatively quick fashion in an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the first inning.

Scherzer got a foul-tip strike three with a 1-2 slider to Kirk Nieuwenhuis for the first out of the second, but gave up a bomb of a home run to left field by John Mayberry, Jr. on an "off-speed" 1-1 pitch. 1-0 Mets after two.

A 2-2 fastball got Scherzer out no.3 of the second inning and ended his first outing of the Spring. 21-pitch frame, 29 total in 2 IP.

Zim at 1B: Matt Williams talked this week about Ryan Zimmerman's glove at first base.

"He catches everything as you saw today," Williams said. "He doesn't miss a ball."

Zim scooped up two throws in the first two innings of tonight's game and "looked comfortable" over there according to tweeted reports and the Mets radio broadcast.

4-0 Mets: New York shortstop Ruben Tejada hustled to first to beat out a potential double play grounder in the third, and the next batter to face Nats' right-hander Tanner Roark, Eric Campbell, took the Nats' reliever/starters deep to left field for a 2-run blast that made it 3-0 Mets in the third. A two-out rally by the Mets added another run to make it 4-0 after two and a half innings with Anthony Recker driving in the fourth run with a single.

Nats' 1st RUN!!: A HBP on Mike Carp in the home-half of the third, by Mets' right-hander Hansel Robles, gave the Nationals' their first baserunner of the Spring and an RBI double to left by Tyler Moore drove Carp in for the Nats' first Grapefruit League run. 4-1. Moore scored on an E by Mets' second baseman Wilfredo Tovar, 4-2 after three innings.

Rafael Martin threw a 1-2-3 fourth for the Nationals, getting Matt den Dekker looking with a two-strike curve to end the frame.

Tyler Moore battled Mets' right-hander Gabriel Ynoa for 13 pitches in his second at bat before lining one to the left-center gap for a ground-rule double that bounced into the stands. 2 for 2, 2 doubles for Moore, who's battling for a spot on the Nats' bench this Spring. 4-2 Mets.

Derrick Robinson drove in a run with a bases-loaded single off Mets' lefty Josh Edgin to get the Nationals within one run after four. 4-3.

Heath Bell alternated strikeouts and walks before striking Mets' catcher Anthony Recker out to end the top of the fifth.

Aaron Barrett hit Cesar Puello in the sixth, but completed a quick, scoreless inning of work.

Xavier Cedeno gave up a two-out single, but got a called strike three to end a scoreless inning of work in the seventh.

Kila Ka' aihue took Mets' right-hander Cory Mazzoni deep in the seventh inning, crushing a two-run blast to right field that put the Nationals ahead 5-4 after seven.

Eric Fornataro gave up a two-out single by Mets' outfielder Cesar Puello, but caught a liner back to the mound off Dilson Herrera's bat to end a scoreless top of the eighth.

Blake Treinen came on in the ninth looking to close out the Grapefruit League opener and threw a quick, 1-2-3 ninth inning. 5-4 Nationals final.