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Washington Nationals drop 6-1 decision to St. Louis Cardinals in Aníbal Sánchez’s 2019 debut...

Aníbal Sánchez tossed two scoreless in his debut in a Nationals uniform, but the Nats lost to the Cards, 6-1 in West Palm Beach, FL.

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Sánchez and Suzuki Reunited: Aníbal Sánchez talked after signing a 2-year/$19M deal with the Washington Nationals in late December about the impact catcher Kurt Suzuki (who signed a 2-year/$10M deal with the Nationals back in November) had on him in what was a bounce-back season in Atlanta for the soon-to-turn 35-year-old starter in 2018.

Sánchez had floundered in the previous three seasons (posting a 5.67 ERA in 88 games and 68 starts over between 2015-17), but with the Braves he put up a 2.83 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, 42 walks (2.77 BB/9), and 135 Ks (8.89 K/9) in 136 2⁄3 innings on the mound, with a .211/.278/.359 line against in 133 2⁄3 IP as a starter.

Suzuki was involved in everything,” Sánchez said. “In every change that I made, every sequence that we worked for, Suzuki was really involved.”

Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez lined both Sánchez and Suzuki up to start their first games in Grapefruit League action together this afternoon and the duo picked up right where they left off.

Sánchez retired the St. Louis Cardinals in order in a 12-pitch opening frame in his first start of the Spring for the Nationals this afternoon in West Palm Beach, FL’s FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

He worked around a leadoff walk in the second, stranding the only runner to reach base in what ended up a 24-pitch outing.

DOOOOOOOO!!!!: Sean Doolittle hit the first batter he faced this Spring, putting a runner on to start the top of the third inning, but retired the next three Cardinals’ in order to keep the visiting team off the board through three in what was a 0-0 game to that point.

MAT: Michael A. Taylor doubled to left field, over outfielder Andy Arozarena’s head for a leadoff double in the Nationals’ half of the third inning, stole third base in the next at bat, and scored on a wild pitch from reliever Chasen Shreve to make it a 1-0 game.

Other Tanner and Other Bullpen Notes: Tanner Rainey, acquired from the Reds in return for Tanner Roark this winter, gave up a leadoff double by Paul Goldschmidt in the Cards’ half of the fourth inning, and a groundout and sac fly brought the tying run around, 1-1.

A walk and three straight singles followed as St. Louis put three runs up and knocked Rainey out in what was a 4-1 game after three and a half.

Trevor Rosenthal retired the Cardinals in order in the top of the fifth, and according to Mark Zuckerman (of MASN fame, not Facebook), the right-hander reached triple-digits in his first outing of the Spring.

Kyle Barraclough tossed a 1-2-3 top of the sixth, picking up a strikeout in his first outing of the Spring.

Matt Grace worked around a leadoff single in a scoreless seventh, with some help from his defense. Randy Arozarena tried to score from first on a Francisco Pena double, but a relay from Matt Reynolds in left to shortstop Adrian Sanchez, and on to Pedro Severino cut the runner down at the plate to keep it a 4-1 Cards’ lead after six and a half.

Ronald Pena gave up a leadoff double and a run in the top of the eighth inning, 5-1 St. Louis, then issued two walks and surrendered an RBI single before he got out of the frame, 6-1.

Henderson Alvarez tossed a scoreless eighth to keep it there, but the Nationals came up empty in the bottom of the eighth and ninth.