NATIONALS 12-3 OVER METS - GAME NOTES:
• Daniel Murphy, who signed a 3-year/$37.5M deal with the Washington Nationals this winter after seven years with the New York Mets who drafted and developed him, hit a line drive double to right to bring Michael Taylor around for a 1-0 lead two batters into tonight's game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida's Tradition Field.
Murphy scored on an RBI double to right off Stephen Drew's bat in the next AB and it was 2-0 Nationals early against veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon.
• Danny Espinosa, who just picked up his first hits of the Spring the other day, after a long 0-for-streak to start the season, got hold of a 3-1 fastball down in the zone away from Colon and flat crushed it, sending a no-doubter out to right field to make it 5-0 in the top of the first. Espinosa improved to 3 for 20 with his first Grapefruit League blast of 2016.
• Another Espi note: We've mentioned this a number of times over the years, but one of our favorite activities when we make it to Nationals Park, is watching Espinosa take infield practice. He showed off the arm a couple times tonight. Just a cannon of an arm from short. The bat though... of course.
• Michael A. Taylor was 2 for 2 tonight and 13 for 28 with three doubles and three home runs this Spring after he took Colon to right for an opposite field blast in the first at bat of the second. 6-0 Nationals.
• Lucas Giolito impressed in two scoreless innings of work, throwing 26 pitches, 16 for strikes. Fastball sat 93-94, got up to 96, nice changeup to Lucas Duda though he ended up walking the Mets' first baseman. Threw a 12-to-6 curve to get Kevin Plawecki swinging for his only strikeout in his two innings on the mound...
We wrote a separate post on Giolito's first Grapefruit League start:
• Mets' left fielder Juan Lagares greeted Felipe Rivero rudely with a leadoff home run to left-center when the Nats' left-hander took over for Lucas Giolito (2.0 scoreless, 26P) in the third. An RBI double by Yoenis Cespedes off Rivero got the Mets within four at 6-2 after three innings.
• Reed Johnson and Jose Lobaton hit back-to-back doubles off Colon in the Nats' fourth, adding a run to make it 7-2.
• Chris Heisey hit a two-out, solo home run off Colon to make it 8-2. Third homer of the game for the Nationals. Second home run of the Spring for Heisey.
• Mets' righty Buddy Carlyle gave up a leadoff walk and back-to-back singles in the sixth as the Nationals added a run to go up, 9-2. Reed Johnson took the walk and scored after the singles by Jose Lobaton and Matt den Dekker. Three more runs scored as the Nationals jumped out to a 12-2 lead.
• Trevor Gott got got by Mets' infielder T.J. Rivera, who hit a solo shot to left field in Tradition Field in the sixth to make it a 12-3 game. Two singles and a HBP loaded the bases with one down, but a backwards K and a groundout to first got Gott out of trouble.
• After Aaron Laffey worked a scoreless seventh, Rafael Martin threw a quick, scoreless eighth, working around a misplay at first by Tyler Moore.
• Erik Davis come on in the ninth inning and gave up a leadoff single and two walks as the Mets loaded the bases with one out, but a swinging K from T.J. Rivera got him out no.2... before Michael Conforto hit an opposite field grand slam to make it 12-7. That's how it ended.