End 9, 5:02: Tyler Clippard gave up a three-run bomb to Duda in the ninth and Destin Hood made an unsightly and costly error, but the Nationals held on to win, 6-5, and improve their spring record to 8-3.
Mid 8, 4:43 Drew Storen fell into some trouble in the eighth, walking Lucas Duda on a 3-2 slider and giving up a single to put two on with no outs. Steve McCatty walked to the mound for a chat, and Storen blew his way out of the jam by striking out three straight. Storen pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. For the spring, he’s still allowed six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Bot 7, 4:21: Jayson Werth extended the Nationals’ lead to 6-1 with an RBI double to left-center. Werth, who DHed today, was pulled for a pinch-runner. He went 1 for 2 with two walks today.
Mid 7, 4:10: Drew Storen threw a pair of fastballs and got out of the inning with a pop up to second. Now they’re singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
Top 7, 4:08: After J.D. Martin pitched a scoreless sixth, Sean Burnett had some issues in the seventh. He allowed a run and left with two outs and men on first and third. Drew Storen will take it from here. It’s 4-1.
End 5, 3:35: The Nats upped their lead to 4-0. Jonathan Van Every walked, Alex Cora singled and Nyjer Morgan got hit by a pitch to load the bases. After Ian Desmond struck out, Werth walked to force in a run. The inning ended when LaRoche’s liner to second turned into a double play, Werth out by a whisker trying to slide back into first.
J.D. Martin has replaced Chad Gaudin. Gaudin’s line: 5 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K
Mid 5, 3:16 Gaudin came out for the fifth and ran into some initial trouble, walking Kirk Niewenhuis and giving up a bloop single to Nickeas. He struck out Hu on two straight curveballs, which Hu treated as if they miracles of modern science. Castillo grounded to second for the second out, and Alberto Gonzalez handled Murphy’s shot to third to end the inning. Still 3-0, Nats.
Mid 4, 3:04: Gaudin wiggled out of a jam to keep the Nats up 3-0. Two singles, by David Wright (which almost decapitated Gaudin) and Lucas Duda put runners on first and third with one out. Hairston missed an outside slider by a mile to strike out swinging, Nick Evans flied to left and Gaudin had his fourth shutout inning. He’s probably done, and it was a nice showing. For the spring, Gaudin has one walk and 11 strikeouts in 10 innings.
End 3, 2:50: Another 1-2-3 inning by Pelfrey. Desmond flied out, Werth grounded to short, LaRoche flied to left. It’s still 3-0, Nats. Chad Gaudin remains on the mound.
Mid 3, 2:46: Chad Gaudin continued to mow down the Mets until Chin-lung Hu came up with two outs. Gaudin notched strike out, sitting down Mike Nickeas on a check-swing in the dirt for his fourth K. Hu, though, scalded a double over the head of Laynce Nix in left, who made a bad read and took a couple steps in before realizing the ball was going over his head. Not sure if he would have had a play, anyway, but I think he would have. It was rightfully ruled a hit.
Anyway, Gaudin got out of the inning when Castillo chopped to first.
End 2, 2:36: The Nats went 1-2-3. Nyjer Morgan ended the inning with a pop to foul territory behind third base.
Mid 2, 2:31 More quick work by Chad Gaudin in a 1-2-3 second. He got help from Alex Cora, who robbed Lucas Duda of a single with a diving play at second base. Gaudin struck out Scott Hairston and got Nick Evans on a fly ball to right. Six up, six down with three Ks for Gaudin.
End 1, 2:25: Ivan Rodriguez drove in a run to make it 3-0 Nationals after the first. He smoked a line drive back up the middle off Pelfrey’s shin. Second baseman Daniel Murphy was able to scoop the ball and flip to first to retire Pudge, but Werth scooted home. Laynce Nix struck out and Alberto Gonzalez grounded out to end the inning.
Bot 1, 2:18: Nyjer Morgan started off the first by dumping an 0-1 pitch from right-hander Mike Pelfrey into left-center for a single. Ian Desmond followed with another single, and Jayson Werth walked to load the bases for Adam LaRoche. LaRoche crushed a ground-rule double to center, giving the Nats a 2-0 lead.
Sitting in the press box, new MASN analyst F.P. Santangelo noted Werth had changed his stance, making it more open than he’s ever seen it. Interesting detail.
Mid 1, 2:12: Impressive first inning for Chad Gaudin. He got a weak flare to short out of Luis Castillo, then struck out David Murphy and David Wright, with Wright flailing awkwardly at a curveball outside.
1:58: We’re just about ready to get going here. Parts of the warning track are a little soggy, and General Manager Mike Rizzo walked out to right field to inspect the turf himself during pregame. Looks like everything is good to go.