3:05, TOP 8: The Nats scored their first run in 16 innings when Jason Michaels smashed a solo home run to left. They will not be shutout for the second straight day and third time in four days.
3:00, END 7: The Nationals finally got their first hit, and just barely. With two outs in the seventh, Jayson Werth hit a 12-hopper up the middle that sneaked between the shortstop and second baseman. The Nationals still trail, 5-0, after Brad Lidge threw up a zero in the bottom half.
2:30, MID 6: The Nats went three up, three down again. Their only base runner today came on Danny Espinosa’s first-inning walk. Jordan Zimmerman is done for the day. His line: 5 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 3 K. The Nationals last won a spring training game March 12, having gone 0-8-1 since. Today’s not looking good, either.
2:18, BOT 5: Another inning, another zero in the run column — and hit column — for the Nats. They’ve been held hitless today and have two runs in their past 33 innings. Former National Brian Bixler tacked on a run for the Astros on a solo homer to right field. It’s 3-0.
2:08, END 4: The Nationals have fallen behind the Astros, 2-0, after three hits off Zimmermann in the fourth inning led to another run. The Nationals still have no hits, having faced Bud Norris for three innings and Lucas Harrell for one. The Nationals’ dismal offensive stretch continues, for now.
1:47, MID 3: The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the second. Brian Bogusevic led off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a warning track flyout to center and scored on a sac fly to left by Chris Snyder. Zimmermann struck out Jose Altuve to end the inning. The Nationals went down in order in the third, including two strikeout by Zimmermann and Desmond.
Roger Bernadina left the game. He appeared to tweak something when he made the catch in the second against the fence. He stayed in the game and went out to center to start the third, but he then walked off the field with a trainer. Brett Carroll has replaced him.
1:27, MID 2: Danny Espinosa walked in the first, but Norris has retired the other six Nationals he’s faced, including a leadoff strikeout of Ian Desmond. Jordan Zimmermann yielded a double off the right-center wall to Jed Lowrie, but stranded him on third. Still scoreless.
1:04, PREGAME: The Nationals are facing right-hander Bud Norris today, with Jordan Zimmermann making his fourth start of the spring. Hitting fifth against a right-hander, Chad Tracy has a chance to make an impression in his bid to make the team. (It is March 23, and we are stretching.) We’ll have periodic updates.