Doug Fister dealt with an elbow issue and a right lat strain which limited his activity last Spring and delayed the start of his first season in the Washington Nationals' rotation, but once he was healthy and on the mound, the 31-year-old right-hander provided what the Nats expected when they acquired him from the Detroit Tigers.
"The radar gun doesn't blow up," Nationals' manager Matt Williams told reporters last August. "But he throws the ball where he wants to."
Fister, the Nats' skipper explained, worked down in the zone consistently and induced ground balls. "That's kind of what he provides for us, the ability with one pitch to get two outs and that's huge."
Fister took the mound for the first time this Spring this afternoon for his two innings (40-45-ish pitches?) of work with a 1-0 lead courtesy of Michael Taylor, who took New York Yankees' starter Adam Warren deep on the first pitch of the opening frame. Taylor hit one into the wind and out of the park to the left of center for a solo blast and a 1-0 lead.
Yankees' outfielder Brett Gardner drew a one-out walk out of Fister in the bottom of the first inning, but the Nats' right-hander got Carlos Beltran to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3. Nine-pitch frame for Fister.
Completely non-controversial Yankee Alex Rodriguez "doubled" down the right field line with one out in the second on a pop fly that dropped in fair just inside the line in front of both a backtracking Wilmer Difo and charging right fielder Clint Robinson. Groundout no.3 of the afternoon for Fister off Garrett Jones' bat gave the righty two outs and Chris Young hit groundout no.4 to Kevin Frandsen at third base. 11-pitch frame, 20 pitches total.
That was it for Fister.
Sammy Solis took over on the mound in the Yankees' half of the third and gave up a leadoff, line drive double to right field by Jose Pirela, who scored on a two-out infield single by Brett Gardner, when Gardner sent a roller toward the hole at short that Ian Desmond got to but threw high to first. 1-1. Solis backdoored Carlos Beltran with an 0-2 bender to end a 15-pitch frame.
Brian McCann beat the shift with an opposite field single off Solis in the first at bat of the Yankees' fourth, but the Nats' left-hander struck A-Rod out with a 2-2 bender and popped Garrett Jones up to short center for the second out with his 29th and final pitch. Nice outing for Solis.
Blake Treinen inherited a runner on first. Chris Young reached on a throwing error by Kevin Frandsen that allowed McCann to take third and an infield single by Jose Pirela drove in the go-ahead run. 2-1 NY.
Three ground ball outs got Treinen through a quick fifth inning.
Tyler Moore hit his second double of the game and his fourth of the Spring in his third at bat of the afternoon, taking a fastball from hard-throwing Yankees' hurler Luis Severino to left-center for another two-base hit.
Moore: 2 for 3, 2 doubles today, 6 for 8, 4 doubles, triple and a home run so far this Spring.
A walk by Tony Gwnn, Jr. and an error on a grounder to right off WIlmer Difo's bat put runners on second and third with one and ended Severino's outing. Derrick Robinson dropped a swinging bunt down the first base line to bring Gwynn, Jr. in from first to tie it up at 2-2. Yankees' lefty James Pazos held it there.
Aaron Barrett gave up a single and hit a batter in a scoreless 15-pitch seventh.
Mitch Lively gave up back-to-back-to-back two-out singles by Jonathan Galviez, Kyle Roller and Cole Figueroa in the home-half of the eighth and the Yankees took a 3-2 lead.