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Washington Nationals drop Grapefruit League finale to Boston Red Sox, 8-1

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Washington Nationals’ righty Joe Ross got his work in and the Nats dropped an 8-1 decision to the Boston Red Sox in the Grapefruit League finale in Ft. Myers, FL.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at Boston Red Sox Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

While the big news of the days was that the Washington Nationals finally named their closer (Blake Treinen got the gig), the Nats still had one last Grapefruit League game to play in Ft. Myers, FL’s JetBlue Stadium today, where they lost to the Boston Red Sox, 8-1.

Joe Ross made the start, giving up eight hits and four earned runs in five innings, but after Bryce Harper’s early RBI single in the first put the Nationals ahead, 1-0, the Red Sox kept them off the board the rest of the way, cruising to the seven-run win.

Here’s how it happened:

Trea Turner lined a double to center to start today’s game, took third on a passed ball and scored on an RBI single by Bryce Harper to put the Nationals up early, 1-0. Turner’s two-base hit was his third double of the Spring.

Joe Ross worked around a back-to-back singles by leadoff man Dustin Pedroia and Red Sox’ outfielder Andrew Benintendi in a scoreless bottom of the first inning, with help from teammate Bryce Harper, who battled the sun in right to make a lunging backhand catch on a fly ball from Pablo Sandoval for out No. 3.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. walked with one down in the bottom of the second inning and took second base on a two-out single to right by Brock Holt, before scoring on a two-run hit (ruled a double) by Pedroia that Bryce Harper couldn’t quite grab, 2-1 Red Sox.

Andrew Benintendi hit a two-out triple to the right-center gap on an 0-2 offering from Ross, driving in Pedroia’s pinch runner, Marco Hernandez, 3-1.

Xander Bogaerts singled and his pinch runner scored on a double by Jackie Bradley, Jr. as the Red Sox went ahead 4-1 on Ross and the Nationals in the third.

Ross came back with a quick, 1-2-3 fourth, collecting his sixth K along the way and he was able to work around a leadoff single in the fifth while ringing up strikeout No. 7.

• Joe Ross’ Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, HBP, 7 Ks, 5/2 GO/FO.

Matt Grace threw a quick, scoreless sixth inning after taking over for Ross, keeping it a three-run game, but Neal Cotts, who was reassigned to minor league camp on Wednesday, struggled in the seventh, giving up a one-out double, two-run home run, back-to-back-to-back two-out singles and an RBI double as the Red Sox busted it open, 8-1.

Rafael Martin took over on the mound to finish up the seventh, Oliver Perez worked a scoreless eighth, and the Nationals came up empty in the top of the ninth.

Final Score: 8-1 Red Sox.