End 7, 9:34: Kimball got out of the inning thanks in part to Bryce Harper’s inning-ending, running catch on the warning. Took a good, confident route to the ball and it took some athleticism to make the play. He may have been feeling fielderish.
Bot 7, 9:27 Bryce Harper is in the game in right field, with Cole Kimball on the mound.
Top 7, 9:21: With a four-run seventh, the Nationals have tied it at 5-5. Roger Bernadina nailed a two-run triple to the warning track in center, and Danny Espinosa singled him home. They’ve still got the inning going with two down and Espinosa on second after a stolen base.
Mid 6, 8:59: After an error on Jerry Hairston and a double to the wall led to another run off Mock in the fifth, it’s 5-1 Astros. Derek Norris has hit the ball hard twice with nothing to show for it. Hairston is 3 for 3, and he’s also out of the game in favor of extra man Stephen King of minor league camp.
End 3, 8:23: Garrett Mock made a mess of that inning. He allowed three hits and got out of it when Wilson Ramos made an excellent block of home plate and tag on a one-hop throw from left fielder Roger Bernadina. Still 4-1.
Bot 3, 8:16: It took Garrett Mock one pitch to close the book on Gorzelanny’s night -- Chris Johnson ripped a two-RBI single to left. So, the line on Gorzelanny: 2.1 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 1 K. It’s early and he’s not quite full strength. But that’s does add some intrigue to the fifth-starter derby.
Also, Mock gave up a warning-track double to the next batter, Jason Michaels. It’s 4-1, Astros.
Bot 3, 8:11: Tom Gorzelanny is done with one out in the third and men on second and third. He got the first out of the inning on a Hunter Pence grounder. Carlos Lee singled to left-center, a single caused by some miscommunication between Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina. And then Bill Hall hit a rocket to the right-field corner for a double.
Garrett Mock is the new pitcher. It’s 1-1, with Gorzelanny on the hook for two runners.
Mid 3, 8:02: Well, Tom Gorzelanny is out for a third inning. Jerry Hairston had a one-out double, but the Nats went quietly otherwise.
End 2, 7:55: Tom Gorzelanny had another uneven inning in which he escaped largely unscathed. He allowed two singes and a walk, but the only run of the inning was unearned after Jeff Frazier botched a single to right and turned it into a double. The Astros had runners on second and third with one out, but he got out of it with a pop-up and a fly ball to left.
Gorzelanny was slated to pitch two innings. If he’s done, his line will look thusly: 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 H, 1 K.
Mid 2, 7:44: I’m willing to make this point: if the Nationals have some injuries and find themselves in need of a Class AAA infielder to come up to the majors, they will be in good hands with Brian Bixler. He roped an RBI triple to the right-center gap with two outs, scoring Chris Marrero, who had singled. He’s had a rock-solid spring, and he seems to have some pop. Anyway, he was stranded when Roger Bernadina grounded out to second. 1-0. Gorzelanny should have one more inning in him.
End 1, 7:37: Tom Gorzelanny got off to a rough start in his first big league inning with the Nationals, but he somehow squirmed out of a jam without allowing a run. Gorzelanny gave up a single to Jason Bourgeois and walked Clint Barmes. In the process of striking out Hunter Pence, he uncorked a wild pitch to put runners on second and third. He then walked Carlos Lee the bases, but Bill Hall bailed him out with a 4-6-3 double play.
Bot 1, 7:14: Just settling in here at Osceola County Stadium, hard by the Reptile Word Serpantarium. Once Tom Gorzelanny departs, given the time of night, I won’t be giving the usual amount of updates. The Nats have two down in the first against Wandy Rodriguez, and Jerry Hairston singled to left.
Here’s their lineup:
1. Roger Bernadina, LF
2. Danny Espinosa, 2B
3. Jerry Hairston, 3B
4. Wilson Ramos, C
5. Derek Norris, DH
6. Chris Marrero, 1B
7. Jeff Frazier, 1B
8. Rick Ankiel, CF
9. Brian Bixler, SS
-- Tom Gorzelanny, SP