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Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins settle for 2-2 Grapefruit League tie: Gio Gonzalez makes 2018 debut...

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Washington Nationals’ lefty Gio Gonzalez tossed two scoreless innings in his 2018 debut, and the Nats and Marlins settled for a 2-2 tie after the Fish rallied late in this afternoon’s game.

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez tossed two scoreless in his Grapefruit League debut this afternoon, and the Washington Nationals took a 2-0 lead into the eighth before the Miami Marlins rallied and tied things up in what 2-2 game after nine innings.

Gio in WPB: Entering what could be his last season in Washington, D.C., Gio Gonzalez, 32, took the mound today in West Palm Beach, FL’s FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches for his 2018 Grapefruit League debut against the Miami Marlins.

Gonzalez, who’s starting what will be his seventh season in the nation’s capital, told MASN host Sara Perlman earlier this month he watched the Hot Stove closely this winter, knowing he’ll potentially hit the market following the conclusion of his 12th major league campaign. His thoughts on the slow pace and the fact that some talented players are still unsigned this late in the Spring?

“So many great, talented ballplayers are sitting right now at home, or in the [free agent] camp right now, looking to see where their next destination is,” Gonzalez said, “... and hopefully it clears up soon, because some of these guys deserve to be here, they’ve been a great part of baseball for years, they don’t deserve to be sitting right now at home.”

Gonzalez, who posted a career-high 81.6% LOB% (Left On Base Percentage) in 2017, (the third-highest LOB% amongst qualified NL starters) was able to work around a single and a walk in the top of the first inning today, stranding the runners who reached in an 11-pitch* frame to start the game.

The lefty collected two Ks and a groundout in a quick, 16-pitch, 1-2-3 second that ended his outing.

[ed. note - “ * = Pitch count via MLB.com’s GameDay, which may or may not be totally accurate. Total pitches is correct according to multiple reports on Twitter.”]

More Like Dooalot: Sean Doolittle took over on the mound in the third inning, and retired the Marlins in order in a 10-pitch frame in his first outing of the Spring. Brandon Kintzler worked around a single in a scoreless top of the fourth.

Running to second > walking out door: Bryce Harper’s first hit of the Spring, and the Nats’ third hit of the game today, was a leadoff double into the left field corner in the bottom of the fourth inning. Anthony Rendon reached base on an infield single in the at bat after the Harper double, and Miguel Montero hit a sac fly to left field to bring in the first run of the game, 1-0.

More bullpen action: Tommy Milone retired the Marlins in order in a quick fifth inning, and came back out in the sixth to set the Fish down again in a second 1-2-3 frame.

Montero, Montero, Montero: Matt Reynolds walked to start the Nationals’ half of the sixth inning, took second base on a single by Jose Marmolejos, and third on a fly to center field by Kelvin Gutierrez before he scored on a fielding error on a grounder to short by Miguel Montero to put the Nationals up 2-0.

Son of Launch Angle Long: Righty Jaron Long retired the Marlins in order in the top of the seventh, keeping the Nationals’ shutout going. Matt Grace, who’s stretching out like he is going to be a long reliever this Spring, took a comebacker up high (off his face according to reports from West Palm Beach), but managed to get an out on a force at third after he gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning.

Grace gave up a run on an RBI single by J.B. Shuck in the next at bat, 2-1, on a grounder to second on which no one covered first, and the Nationals botched a rundown that allowed the tying run to score, 2-2.

Wander-ing: Wander Suero, the right-handed reliever who was added to the Nats’ 40-Man roster this winter, worked around a one-out walk in a scoreless top of the ninth, and the game ended after the Nationals came up empty in the ninth.