Zach Walters’ walkoff single cashed in a 9th-inning leadoff double by Wilson Ramos, sending in PR Sandy Leon from third as the Nats rose above .500 with their fourth Grapefruit League win, 7-6 over the Cards.
After the game, the Nationals announced LHPs Bill Bray, Brandon Mann, and Will Ohman and RHP Tanner Roark were reassigned to minor-league camp.
The starting lineup was the closest to what we’ll see next month, with the exception of Steve Lombardozzi at 3B and Ryan Zimmerman as the DH. They accounted for eight of the 14 Washington hits, with Denard Span drawing two of the Nats’ five walks.
Ross Detwiler made his second appearance, the last before leaving the team to take park in the World Baseball Classic. The 26-year-old gave up a run on four hits in his two innings of work but struck out four and walked none. He was followed by Craig Stammen, who turned in three innings and allowed the second St. Louis run.
The regulars built a 3-2 lead before turning the game over to the reserves, who had to overcome the shoddy work of southpaws Mann and Pat McCoy, as the two combined to cough up four runs on five hits and two walks in the three-run 7th (Mann) and the one-run 8th (McCoy).
Chad Tracy’s two-run HR in the 6th extended the Nats lead to 5-2. The veteran doubled with one out in the 8th and scored two batters later on Carlos Rivero’s two-out RBI single, with Corey Brown, who had walked after Tracy, committing the, um, cardinal baserunning sin of making the third out at third base to end the inning.
Ryan Mattheus pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth and got the “W” as Ramos, who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Zimmerman, justmissed a HR with a double off the fence in right-center. He was replaced by the not-speedy Leon at second with Chris Marrero grounding out to the right side to move Leon to third to set up Walters’ gamewinner.
A quick rundown of the notable minor-leaguers’ lines:
• PR-RF Brown 1-1, BB
• PR-LF Rivero 1-2, RBI
• PR-DH Leon 0-0, R
• 1B Marrero 0-1, BB
• SS Walters, 1-1, BB, RBI
• C Jhonatan Solano 0-2, R
• Mann 1IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K
• McCoy 1IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
As reported yesterday, today is the first of three scheduled off days during 2013 Spring Training for Washington. The Nationals return to action tomorrow, with the Houston Astros visiting for a 1:05 p.m. start. The game can be heard online with the newly hired tandem of Robert Ford and former knuckleballer Steve Sparks making the call.