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Nationals settle for 2-2 tie with Marlins: A.J. Cole tosses four scoreless, hitless vs Fish

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A.J. Cole tossed four scoreless and hitless and Bryce Harper and Derek Norris homered for the Nationals in what ended up a 2-2 tie with the Marlins today in West Palm Beach.

MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at Washington Nationals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Cole gave up six hits, a walk and four runs (three of them earned) in three innings when he faced the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, FL’s Roger Dean Stadium last week.

It was second start of the Spring, after Cole allowed four hits, a walk and four earned runs in his first outing of 2017 against the Minnesota Twins on the road in Fort Myers.

Today, in The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, the 25-year-old right-hander held the Washington Nationals’ NL East rivals off the board through four hitless innings of work in a solid effort on the mound in what ended up a 2-2 tie.

Here’s how it happened:

Cole, whose fastball touched 94 in the first, according to the Marlins’ radio broadcast team, retired the first six Fish he faced in order, on 23 pitches.

He issued a leadoff walk to Miami’s third baseman, Matt Juengel in the third inning, but retired the next three batters in order for his third scoreless frame.

Cole came back out for the fourth and retired the Marlins in order again in what ended up being his final inning of work.

A.J. Cole: 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks.

Ryan Zimmerman was first-pitch swinging in his first at bat of the afternoon against Marlins’ lefty Dillon Peters, but he grounded out to third, leaving him 0 for 11 early in Spring Training.

Trea Turner walked to start the first, but was stranded, and was the Nationals’ only baserunner through three innings.

Adam Eaton singled to start the fourth and stole second, Anthony Rendon walked with one down, and Ryan Zimmerman took a two-out walk to load the bases against Marlins’ righty Brian Ellington, but Jose Lobaton grounded out to end the threat.

Joe Nathan took over for A.J. Cole in the top of the fifth inning, and gave up a leadoff double by former Nats’ prospect Destin Hood.

Nathan walked Brandon Barnes in the next at bat, and gave up an RBI double by Ramon Cabrera with one down. Hood scored on the two-base hit to make it 1-0 Marlins in the fifth.

Adam Eaton dove for a fly ball to center field off Adeiny Hechavarria’s bat in the next AB, but came up empty. Barnes scored on the play to make it 2-0 before Dee Gordon lined into an inning-ending double play at first.

Turner walked for the second time today with two down in the home-half of the fifth inning, but was stranded when Adam Eaton popped out.

Neal Cotts gave up a one-out single in the sixth, but Justin Bour grounded into an inning-ending 6-5-3 DP to keep it 2-0 Fish after five and a half.

Bryce Harper homered for the third time this Spring to lead off the Nats’ half of the sixth inning, taking Stephen Fife deep to left to get the Nationals on the board, down 2-1.

Shawn Kelley made quick work of the Marlins in the seventh, working around a two-out double by minor league infielder Brian Anderson.

Kelley’s allowed one run in three innings early in Grapefruit League action.

Derek Norris tied things up in the seventh, taking Justin Nicolino deep to center, into the wind for a solo blast that made it a 2-2 game.

Sammy Solis struck out two of the four batters he faced in a scoreless eighth.

Blake Treinen threw his third scoreless inning of the Spring in the ninth, striking out two of three batters he faced. Treinen now has six Ks in three scoreless and hitless in Grapefruit League action.