The Nats offense tried to salvage a nine-run bullpen implosion in the bottom of 8th with a five-run retort in the top of the 9th, but fell short in an 11-9 loss today in Port St. Lucie.
The Mets sent 13 men to the plate in the frame, with losing pitcher Mitch Lively retiring one of four batters faced (three hits to the others), Eric Fornataro getting one of seven out (two walks, four hits, including a HR), and Brian Rauh letting in an inherited runner with a single before getting the third and final out.
Clint Robinson’s pinch-hit grand slam capped off five straight men reaching base to start the 9th, but the Nats could only muster one more baserunner — a Sandy Leon single, his second in two at-bats as the second DH — before Derrick Robinson (0-for-2) and Jeff Kobernus (0-for-2) struck out to end the game.
A.J. Cole made the start in place of Stephen Strasburg, but was fortunate to allow just one run (a homer to Curtis Granderson) as the Mets strafed him for four hit and two walks over an inning and 2/3rds.
Among the highlights for the prospects…
• Michael Taylor started in CF and connected for a two-run double in between two strikeouts
• Wilmer Difo followed Danny Espinosa at SS but whiffed twice in two ABs and committed an error
• Matt Skole walked and scored in the 9th, his first PA after subbing for Ian Stewart at 3B
• Cutter Dykstra drew a bases-loaded walk ahead of Clint Robinson’s homer after taking over at 2B from Emmanuel Burriss, who was 0-for-2
• Matt Grace pitched a scoreless 7th, giving up a hit for his third clean outing of the spring
The Nats return to Viera tomorrow to host the Astros. The game can be heard on MLB Radio.