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Posted at 08:05 PM ET, 03/20/2011

Spring training live blog, Nationals vs. Tigers


(John McDonnell)

End, 4:05: Make it seven straight losses for the Nats. 6-1, Tigers, in the books. Tyler Clippard loaded the bases in the ninth before escaping.

Mid 8, 3:34:Storen could not pitch around Espinosa’s miscue. A line-drive single to center and a double to the left-center gap gave the Tigers another two runs. It’s 6-1, and the Nats are their way to losing seven straight.

Top 8, 327: The Nats made a mess of the seventh inning, and they’re on their way to doing the same with the eighth. With me n on first and second in the seventh, Wilson Ramos fired a snap pickoff throw that sailed into right field. Werth fired in a throw Alex Cora, who needlessly whipped the ball to third past Jerry Hairston. When the dust settled, both runs had scored. And now, in the eighth, Drew Storen induced a one-out pop-up that Danny Espinosa, playing shortstop, dropped because of a wicked wind.

Matt Stairs did put the Nats aon the board with a bomb to right on a high fastball.

End 6, 2:51: Verlander is just dominating. The Nats have six hits, but they have not seriously threatened to score all game. LaRoche walked, but Ramos struck out. It’s 2-0, Tigers. Coffey remains out there for a second inning after an easy sixth

End 5, 2:38: The Nats went queitly again in the fifth. Alberto Gonzalez made himself 2 for 2 with a single to right, and Morgan struck out for the second time today.

Todd Coffey has come in the game for Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny’s line: 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 84 pitches, 47 strikes.

Mid 5, 2:25: In his last outing, Gorzelanny struggled once he reached the fourth inning -- ”hit a wall,” in the words of one scout. So the fifth today was a test for Gorzelanny, and he passed. He allowed a single to Ramon Santiago, but he induced three pop-ups otherwise to get out of the inning. It's 2-0, Tigers.

End 4, 2:16: A quick inning there. Gorzelanny worked out of a leadoff walk by inducing a double play from Peralta. Roger Bernadina singled with two outs, but he was thrown out by Raburn trying to stretch it into a double. A good decision with two outs to risk it, but with his speed it’s a surprise Bernadina didn’t make it.

End 3, 2:03: The Nationals have fallen behind , 2-0, on a two-run, wind-aided home run by Don Kelly off Gorzelanny. Through three innings, Gorzelanny has three Ks, all swinging. He can strike guys out, which is a rarity in theNationals’ rotation.

The Nationals went down without scoring in their half. Nyjer Morgan blooped a single into left, and alertly moved to ssecond when Ryan Raburn bobbled it. Rick Ankiel struck out looking for the second time.

End 2, 1:41: The Nationals have looked largely helpless against Justin Verlander today — except Wilson Ramos and Roger Bernadina. After LaRoche struck out swinging, Ramos crushed a double to the left-center gap. ”Pudge took his last swing that good in 2004,”says Boz, who’s sitting next to me. Bernadina lined out to center, strong contact. Jerry Hairston ended the inning with a pop to shallow left.

Mid 2, 1:29: After struggling his first time out against major leaguers, Tom Gorzelanny has been pretty impressive. In the second, he struck out Miguel Cabrera swinging to lead off the inning. He walked Victor Martinez (the Tigers brought the varsity) with one out, then struck out Jhonny Peralta. Brandon Inge ripped a single to center, which Ankiel bobbled to send Martinez to third. Gorzelanny got out of trouble by inducing a weak fly to center by Alex Avila. Still scoreless.

Bot 1, 1:17: Tom Gorzelanny had a strong start, retiring the Tigers in order on a fly to left, a grounder to third and a pop foul to first. Nyjer Morgan led off the first with a strikeout. At this point, I can say I would be surprised if Morgan was on the team opening day. Rick Ankiel followed with another strikeout, looking.

Pre: By popular demand, we’re going back to the old method of updates — they will all be up here. If we can develop a better way to do the comment-based live blog, we may try it again. For now, we’ll stick with the old way.

Today, as MASN broadcaster F.P. Santangelo pointed out to me, all three Nationals candidates to start in center field — Nyjer Morgan, Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina — are in the starting lineup today against Justin Verlander, one of the best right-hander pitchers in baseball. It’s a chance for them to make an impression.

The game is onMASN today. Keep it here for updates if you’re watching hoops or otherwise occupied.

By  |  08:05 PM ET, 03/20/2011

 
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