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Washington Nationals lose, 3-1, to New York Mets: Early runs off Aníbal Sánchez enough for NY

Aníbal Sánchez gave up two runs early and the Mets added a run in what ended up a 3-1 win over the Nats in Grapefruit League action.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Things didn’t go too well for Aníbal Sánchez in his first inning of work this afternoon in the New York Mets’ Spring home, Digital Doma— uh, Tradition Fiel — er, uh, First Data Fiel— ah, Clover Park(?) as it’s now called.

Sánchez, who turned 36 this week, gave up a leadoff single on a first-pitch fastball to Jeff McNeil that the 27-year-old infielder (who put up a .421/.436/.935 line, 13 doubles, and 14 home runs on first pitches, with a .317 AVG on fastballs and .370 AVG on sinkers overall last season) would probably never see in a regular season game.

Brandon Nimmo walked in the second at bat of the home-half of the first inning in Port St. Lucie, FL, and Robinson Cano drove both runners in with a double to put the Mets up, 2-0 early in Grapefruit League action.

Sánchez gave up another walk before he got out of the first, with just the two runs allowed, and the veteran starter worked around another single by McNeil in the second, and a one-out single by Pete Alonso in the third, completing three innings on 49 pitches with the two runs allowed on four hits in his second start of the Spring.

DOOOO!!!: Sean Doolittle made his Grapefruit League debut this afternoon, giving up a hit and striking out two in a scoreless inning of work. Doolittle, like starters Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, was held back at the start this Spring after all three went deep into the postseason this past October.

Kieboom Back In: Carter Kieboom had another misplay at third in Saturday’s game cost the Nationals, but his manager told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Pete Kerzel, that the field at Roger Dean Stadium wasn’t an easy one to play on, so he brushed off the hard-hit grounder that got through the 21-year-old infielder’s wickets.

“To me, this is hardest field to play the infield,” Martinez explained.

“The ball comes off of that (cream-colored) backdrop, you really can’t see it. So I’m not going to really evaluate what he does here on the field. He’ll come back home and play tomorrow.”

They weren’t at home, but Kieboom was back in the lineup for today’s matchup with the Mets, and he went 0 for 3 with two Ks, leaving him 1 for 12 with six walks and five Ks through six games this Spring as he is trying to lock down the third base job in the nation’s capital.

Run, Not Runs: Back-to-back walks by Raudy Read and Mac Williamson led off the eighth and set the Nats up with a scoring opportunity the cashed in with Welington Castillo’s sac fly driving in the only run the club scored in what ended up a 3-1 loss to their NL East rival.

Ryan Zimmerman was 1 for 2 with a double, his first hit in three games this Spring, but the Nationals combined for just six hits total on the afternoon and went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and eight left on base.

Bullpen Action: After Sánchez and Doolittle were done for the day, Roenis Elías (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 K), David Hernandez (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 ER), and Wil Crowe (2.0 IP, 2 BB, 1 K) all got their work in in what ended up a 3-1 loss.