Bryce Harper got all of a 94 mph 2-2 fastball from Houston Astros’ left-hander Reymin Guduan with one on and two out in the fifth, and hit a no-doubter of a line drive onto the grass-covered hill beyond right field in West Palm Beach, FL’s Ballpark of the Palm Beaches for a two-run blast, his fifth of the Spring.
Washington’s 24-year-old right fielder improved to 8 for 24 (.333 AVG) in Grapefruit League action, with a double, five home runs and three walks in 10 games. Harper’s homer put the Nationals up 3-0 after five.
The Astros took a 4-3 lead on a seventh-inning slam, but Nats’ prospect Drew Ward hit a game-tying, opposite field home run to left in the eighth and Andrew Stevenson hit a walk-off winner in the ninth in what ended up a 5-4 win.
Sundays are for yardwork. pic.twitter.com/OwWHwluSUX— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 12, 2017
Here’s how it happened:
• Joe Ross worked around a one-out single in the first, and stranded two after a leadoff walk and one-out single in the second, completing two scoreless frames on 31 pitches.
• Ryan Zimmerman stepped in for the first time today 0 for 13 thus far in Grapefruit League action and grounded out to third on the first pitch he saw. 0 for 14...
• Matt Wieters can pick it, judging by the fact that he only had one passed ball last season and deftly handled a few pitches in the dirt from Joe Ross early.
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about Wieters’ pitch-framing ability, of lack thereof, on MASN’s broadcast of today’s game, suggesting that the Nationals’ pitchers might make him a little better.
• Astros’ lefty Dallas Keuchel held the Nationals hitless through two, but Stephen Drew sent a bouncer by third for a leadoff double and the Nats’ first hit in the third. He was stranded at third three outs later, however.
• Ross retired eight straight batters after Tyler White’s one-out single in the second, finishing four scoreless on 60 pitches, with his 4 Ks total on the day coming from the eight batters he retired over that stretch.
• Adam Eaton got into a 3-1 count in the first at bat of the fourth, and powered an opposite field fly out over the wall for a solo home run, his first of the Spring, 1-0.
• Zimmerman grounded out to third base in his second at bat of the day, 0 for 15... #stillnotpanicking
• Jayson Werth took a 94 mph 1-2 fastball from Astros’ righty James Hoyt back up the middle for a two-out single in the fourth, and back-to-back walks by Anthony Rendon and Stephen Drew loaded the bases in front of Matt Wieters, who popped out to short right to end the threat.
• Joe Ross needed 25 pitches to get through a long-ish fifth, stranding two Astros’ runners after giving up a leadoff single and a two-out walk.
• Clint Robinson improved to 5 for 23 this Spring with a leadoff single to left field off Astros’ lefty Reymin Guduan in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Trea Turner got ahead in the count, 2-1, and reached safely on a swinging bunt that dribbled down the third base line. Adam Eaton stepped in next and lined into a 6-4 double play, but Bryce Harper got all of a 94 mph 2-2 fastball from Guduan in the at bat that followed and hit a line drive over the right field fence for a two-run blast, his 5th of the Spring. 3-0.
• Zimmerman walked in his final at bat of the game. #pluspatience
• Jacob Turner finished off the sixth inning, after taking over for Braulio Lara, and came back out for the seventh. Two singles around a walk loaded the bases with one out and Astros’ prospect A.J. Reed cleared them with a grand slam on a bomb to right, 4-3 HOU.
• Former Nats’ prospect Brad Peacock retired the Nationals in order in a quick seventh and came back out for the eight, retiring the first two batters he faced before Drew Ward stepped in and hit an 0-2 fastball out to left for an opposite field blast that tied things up at 4-4.
• Neal Cotts worked around a two-out single for a scoreless top of the ninth, but the Nationals came up empty in the bottom of the inning.
• Pedro Severino singled to start the Nationals’ ninth, and his pinch runner, Wilmer Difo, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and after Emmanuel Burriss walked, scored when Andrew Stevenson hit a line drive into the left-center gap for a walk-off winner.
Final Score: 5-4 Nationals