Stephen Strasburg threw a 94 mph 2-2 fastball by George Springer for a swinging K and the first out of this evening’s Grapefruit League matchup in West Palm Beach, FL.
He missed on four straight pitches to Derek Fisher in the next at bat, issuing his first walk of the game, and then gave up a line drive double by Alex Bregman on a first-pitch fastball up in the zone. Carlos Correa’s RBI groundout to the mound in the at bat that followed made it 1-0 Astros early in the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Aledmys Diaz drew the second walk of the game from Strasburg in the first at bat of the top of the second, spitting on a 2-2 curve in the dirt and taking a full-count fastball low and out of the zone. Two outs later, Jack Mayfield hit a roller toward second, against the shift, and it ended up being a hit when Carter Kieboom made the play but put it in his pocket instead of rushing a throw.
George Springer’s fly to right stranded both runners, however, and gave the Nationals’ right hander two scoreless on 31 pitches.
Strasburg got Fisher swinging with a full-count change in the first at bat of the third, but he “missed” with a 3-1 fastball at the knees to Alex Bregman, issuing his third walk of the game.
Carlos Correa hit an 0-1 curve to left field for a single in the next AB, giving the Astros two runners on with one out, and Josh Reddick found the gap with a line drive double that got by both a diving Hunter Jones and Victor Robles backing him up, but Robles recovered in time to get the ball and throw in to Wilmer Difo, who threw home to Yan Gomes to cut down Correa at the plate for out No. 2 of what ended up a 17-pitch third inning for Strasburg when the next batter grounded out, 2-2.
Robinson Chirinos K’d looking at an over-the-top, 1-2 curve for the first out of the fourth, a 2-2 change dove under Tyler White’s bat in the next at bat for K No. 4 overall, and a 95 mph 2-2 changeup to Jack Mayfield made it three straight strikeouts for the Nats’ starter, whose 14-pitch frame left him at 62 total.
George Springer took a 3-1 pitch for a ball in the top of the fifth inning, drawing the fourth walk of the game from Strasburg, but the right-hander struck Fisher out on a 2-2 change outside, K No. 6, and after an infield single by Yordan Alvarez, got a force at second out of Correa, leaving runners on the corners when he was lifted, having thrown 77 pitches total.
Kie—BOOM!!!: Carter Kieboom got hold of a 93 mph 2-2 fastball up in the zone inside from the Astros’ starter, Justin Veralander, in the second and powered it out to left field for a two-run blast and a 2-1 lead. Kieboom’s second of the Spring.
KIE- @Nationals' No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom launches a go-ahead 2-run -- his 2nd #SpringTraining homer -- in tonight's action vs. the #Astros. Gameday/watch live: https://t.co/LOz9fVc7qL pic.twitter.com/amlId1hyBC— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 12, 2019
In his second at bat in the fourth, Kieboom got a first-pitch fastball hip-high inside and hit his second home run of the game and third of the Spring, 3-2.
Kieboom walked in his third trip to the plate in the sixth, loading the bases after he stepped in with runners on the corners.
Bullpen Action: Vidal Nuño took over for Strasburg with runners on the corners and two out in the fifth, and got a fly to center for the third out of the frame.
Taylor Gushue took Nuño’s at bat in the home-half of the fifth and hit a pinch hit home run to right-center and well over the outfield wall for the Nationals’ third homer off Verlander, 4-2.
Joe Ross stranded two baserunners in a scoreless top of the sixth inning as MLB’s Gameday hamsters completely lost track of the game.
Matt Grace got the seventh for the Nationals, walked the first batter he faced, and gave up a single to the second, then had a Carter Kieboom error cost him an out as a run scored, 4-3.
Victor Robles walked, stole second, then third, and scored on a passed ball when the Astros’ pitcher (Brendan McCurry) and catcher (Jamie Ritchie) got crossed up, 5-3 Nationals in the bottom of the seventh.
Austin Adams kept it a 5-3 game with a scoreless top of the eighth inning.
Henderson Alvarez gave up a leadoff triple and one-out walk in the ninth, but got an inning-ending double play to end the game. 5-3 Nationals.