Making his second start of the Spring, and facing the St. Louis Cardinals for a second time after holding the NL Central club to a run, two walks, and a hit in two innings in his 2020 debut last weekend, Washington Nationals’ left-hander Patrick Corbin started strong with two strikeouts after a one-out single in a quick, 16-pitch, top of the first tonight at home in West Palm Beach, FL’s FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Corbin left a 1-1 slider up over the the middle for Rangel Ravelo, who lined a leadoff double to left in the top of the second, and Ravelo scored on Austin Dean’s opposite field double off of the southpaw’s fastball in the next at bat, 1-0 Cards.
Later in the second, Andrew Knizer unloaded on a 2-0 fastball up high from Corbin and hit a two-run blast out to left to make it a 3-0 game.
Corbin was up to 41 pitches after two and 53 after he added two more strikeouts in a quick, scoreless top of the third inning. That was it for the Nationals’ starter...
Eaton OK?: Adam Eaton left Tuesday afternoon’s game with a tight left hamstring after he tweaked it running out a groundout, but Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez downplayed concerns about the outfielder when he spoke with the assembled reporters in West Palm Beach after what ended up a 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
“Just got tight. Nothing major, but I’m just not going to take a chance,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Pete Kerzel.
“He said something to Howie [Kendrick], Howie told me and I said, ‘Get him out.’ You know him, he’s never happy [to be out of a game]. But I said we’re not going to take any chances right now. If we were during the season, I probably wouldn’t have taken him out. But we’re going to be very cautious with these guys right now.”
Eaton wasn’t penciled into the lineup when the Nationals returned to Grapefruit League action tonight, but the third-year skipper reiterated before the game that it’s just a tight hamstring.
“Eaton, he’s good,” Martinez said, according to MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“Just tightness. But like I said, it’s Spring Training. He’s been down here since Jan. 3, so he’s already biting at the bit.”
When will Eaton return to the lineup soon? We’ll see if he’s penciled in when the Nationals take on the Miami Marlins tomorrow night in Jupiter, FL.
Soto Strikes: Juan Soto doubled to right, one hop and off the outfield wall on a 1-1 slider up high from Cards’ starter Carlos Martínez in the home-half of the second, but he was caught trying to steal second base with Ryan Zimmerman at the plate one out later, leaving him 2 for 3 this Spring when he’s tried to swipe a bag.
Soto worked the count full in his second at bat in the fifth, and bounced a hard-hit grounder off of Cards’ first baseman Rangel Ravelo and hustled around to second base while they got the ball back. Soto was stranded at third two outs later.
Bullpen Action: Javy Guerra needed just 13 pitches to get through a 1-2-3 top of the fourth.
Sean Doolittle gave up an opposite field single by Edmundo Sosa on a fastball low and away on the first pitch of the fifth, and Tommy Edman followed with a two-run blast to left-center on a fastball up high and over the middle of the plate, 5-0.
A walk to Dylan Carlson followed, and Tyler O’Neill lined a low, 0-1 slider inside out to left for an RBI double and a 6-0 lead. Doolittle was up to 20 pitches before he got out of the inning.
Ryne Harper gave up a one-out single and threw a wild pitch that allowed the runner (Max Schrock) to advance to second, before he scored on a liner back to the mound off of the pitcher’s glove and into center for an RBI single and a 7-0 lead.
Daniel Hudson gave up a one-out single by O’Neill and an RBI double to right by Ravelo, 8-0, in the top of the seventh, and Austin Deal doubled on a 2-1 fastball, lining it to left-center, 9-0, before Justin Williams unloaded on a 1-1 fastball, sending a three-run bomb to right field, just over the wall, 11-0. That was it for Hudson, in a 23-pitch outing.
David Hernandez finished off the seventh and Roenis Elías got the eighth, working around a leadoff single for a scoreless frame.
Jhonatan German retired the Cards in order in the top of the ninth, but the Nationals came up empty in the bottom of the inning, mercifully bringing an end to this game...